Today was Thanksgiving in the U.S.A.
The ultimate Thankful Thursday.

I'm thankful for...

Our Thanksgiving dinner took place at our humble abode. Mr. B was working on the railroad, and my brother-in-law was at the fire station, which left my dad, grandma, sister, 2 nieces, 2 daughters, and me. My house is small. I have a small eating nook off of the kitchen, but we make do. We had way more food than we needed, and Mr. B got off work early enough to have a plate at 10 PM. Tomorrow, I'm sleeping in. I worked retail for 11 years - I don't do Black Friday. Instead, Mr. B will help me bring in the boxes of Christmas decorations before he heads back to work, and the girls and I will deck the halls. The season of Advent is days away - can you believe it? I feel like I was just posting my Christmas stuff. Time flies faster with little ones. I'm so thankful for my babies, but they're growing so fast.

Holiday posts start soon!

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A Thanksgiving Wish

A Thanksgiving Wish by Michael J. Rosen, illustrated by John Thompson.
Blue Sky Press (an imprint of Scholastic), 1999.

Only one more Thanksgiving title to share with you this year.  (See yesterday's and previous years' books.)

A Thanksgiving Wish is a gorgeous picture book. It was published fifteen years ago, but it has such a timeless quality that I was surprised to see it's out of print.

In the story, we meet Amanda, and we learn about her family's Thanksgiving tradition. Every year, Bubbe, her grandmother, works several days to create an entire Thanksgiving feast for her large Jewish family. Everyone crowds into various rooms of Bubbe's small house, enjoying the fabulous made-from-scratch meal. Then at night, Bubbe visits each of her grandchildren one-on-one, offering them a choice of wishbones she has saved over the course of the year. She asks them how big their wish might be. That determines which size wishbone they pull apart.

But this year is different. Bubbe has passed away, and Amanda's family has opted to host the large gathering at their new old house. The family tries to recreate Bubbe's recipes, but they don't give themselves much time.

It's a dreary, rainy Thanksgiving day. Both sets of aunts, uncles, and cousins arrive safely. Dinner isn't ready yet, and everyone is soaked from the rain. Every appliance in the house is running, causing the fuse to go out. There will be no electricity until the hardware store opens the next day.

But there's a knock at the door. An elderly grandmother, Mrs. Yee, has noticed the electricity has gone out. She offers the family the use of her kitchen. When they run out of room there, she takes them to the homes of other neighbors. Amanda's family meets the people in their neighborhood, and they kindly help them finish preparing their feast.

By the time dinner is ready, everyone is too hungry to compare the food to Bubbe's. Mrs. Yee is invited to stay, and everyone has an enjoyable meal, until Amanda starts to cry. She has noticed the wishbone, which reminds her of Bubbe, and the tradition they shared.

The family tells her that it's hers, as she is the youngest and had the fewest years with Bubbe. She misses having Bubbe there to pull apart the bone, but Mrs. Yee offers to act as Grandma in her place.

Amanda admits that her wish cannot come true, as she wished her Bubbe was still alive. Her mother tells her that Bubbe's wish, every year with every grandchild, was that the child should win the larger piece of the bone. After all, what Bubbe wanted most was for her grandchildren's wishes to come true.

While Amanda's Bubbe cannot come back, a new tradition is born. Her family takes over the Thanksgiving hosting and cooking, and Mrs. Yee continues to join them, every year.

How sweet and beautiful and real is that?

I will have my Thanksgiving Thankful Thursday post tomorrow, but in case you don't see it, I'll let you know that I'm thankful for my readers, my blog friends, and for books.

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Sheriff Sally Gopher and the Thanksgiving Caper

Sheriff Sally Gopher and the Thanksgiving Caper
by Robert Quackenbush.
Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1982.

I didn't check out too many library books for Thanksgiving this year. If you want to see what we read the past couple of years, click here.

These illustrations remind me so much of other books and cartoons from the early 1980s. I would have been in kindergarten when Sheriff Sally Gopher and the Thanksgiving Caper first came out. As familiar as the style may be, I don't believe I ever read this one, nor any other books by Robert Quackenbush.

So story-wise, this one is a mix of weird, silly, and strangely educational. The critters of Pebble Junction are preparing for their big Thanksgiving corn feast. A giant turkey, modeled on one Terence Turkey, is being constructed from ears of corn, when Virgil Vulture (such a tongue-twister when you read this book aloud!) storms into Sheriff Sally Gopher's office. He is angry about Terence Turkey being the symbol of Thanksgiving, when Virgil's ancestors were present at the first Thanksgiving, too. After all, who else would clean up the remains of the meal but a vulture?

After paying a visit to the mayor (who is also Sheriff Sally's horse), it is suggested that the issue be put to vote. Dirk Duck speaks up. His ancestor goes back even further, he says. You see, his ancestor was Dutch, and lived in Leiden, Holland. Many of the Pilgrims who fled England settled in Leiden first. While there, they learned about Dutch Thanksgiving, the hutspot feast, which was first celebrated in 1574, when the Dutch drove the Spanish troops out of Leiden.

[Okay, see what I mean by strangely educational? Because the daughters and I are very curious and love to learn more, we did a Google search for more on Dutch Thanksgiving. Here is short article from Smithsonian Magazine.]

And so, the campaigning begins. Posters and flyers go up. It is decided that voting will be "ancient Greek style, using colored stones instead of paper ballots."

[Okay, more Googling. I'm not saying I was completely ignorant of this stuff, but when I'm trying to keep my facts straight, sometimes a little help is needed.]

The stones used for the election are brown for Terence, white for Dirk, and black for Virgil. After the first box is emptied, Virgil overhears someone saying that Terence was in the lead. Virgil is the last to vote. He carries his stone in a paper bag. When he departs, the second box is emptied. Every stone in the box is black. Virgil has won!

Construction starts on a new corn statue. Thanksgiving starts to seem very gloomy. There are complaints.

Then one day, a small black object whizzes by Sheriff Sally, landing in a puddle. Upon picking it up, the critters notice it has turned brown! There are chicks nearby, playing marbles. The marbles, it turns out, were from the election.

Sheriff Sally and her deputies rush to Virgil Vulture's house to investigate. They find a paper bag. Inside, there is an empty bottle of quick-drying black ink! Sheriff Sally confronts Virgil, who admits he has no idea why he suddenly thought it was so important to be the symbol of Thanksgiving. "Vultures are loners. We hate huge gatherings. Give the job to Terence. He really should have won."

The job is given back to Terence. Everyone is so relieved, even Dirk Duck accepts the news with no objection.

The big Thanksgiving corn feast takes place as planned. Virgil stays home until it's time to clean up.

"So, in the end, Pebble Junction's holiday was a perfect success. It was so perfect that everyone vowed to keep to tradition at future Thanksgivings. And they stuck to their word."

Love and peace to you all.

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What Will I Be?: A Wish Book (A Little Golden Book)

What Will I Be?: A Wish Book by Kathleen Krull Cowles,
illustrated by Eulala Conner. Golden Press / Western Publishing Company, 1979.

Here is a fine example of diversity in children's books, circa 1979. This darling Little Golden Book is simple: a bunch of kids daydream about what they might be or do when they grow up. Some of those things are actual jobs, some are fantasy, some veer into other directions.  But look at the illustrations! We have children of different colors, a child in a wheelchair, girls daydreaming about being firefighters and train engineers, boys wanting to be dancers or chefs.  Enjoy!

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