THE PETERKINS’ THANKSGIVING

In the late-19th century, Lucretia Hale’s hilarious Peterkin Papers followed the misadventures of a family who were the ancestors of The Stupids and Amelia Bedelia. Spurr and Halperin have already adapted The Peterkins’ Christmas (2004)—their light touch and whimsical illustrations are just what are needed to bring this holiday into the realm of the silly. Thanksgiving dinner gets stuck in the dumbwaiter; Amanda the cook can move it neither up nor down. The family (parents, Agamemnon, Solomon John, Elizabeth Eliza and the three Little Boys) troops down to the kitchen, but that doesn’t help. Pickaxes are mentioned. So is tea, but no one wants to spoil their appetites. Finally, the carpenter comes, after his own dinner, and rearranges the weight, which is just what is needed. The hapless Peterkins will have children screaming with laughter—and telling them what to do—while they absorb a certain amount of information about how dumbwaiters work and what it is like to have the kitchen downstairs and dinner served to you. The Lady from Philadelphia, who usually unties the Peterkins’ Gordian knots, is offstage here, the recipient of Elizabeth Eliza’s missives. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-689-84142-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2005

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THREE YOUNG PILGRIMS

Mary, Remember, and Bartholomew Allerton were among the youngest on the Mayflower's first voyage; the words here tell how, with the other newcomers, they suffer tremendous losses but gradually come to view Plymouth as home. Meanwhile, the author's paintings expand considerably on the text with a fanciful map of the journey, a cutaway view of the ship, and crowd scenes of planting, harvest, and thanksgiving. The children, introduced in the first paragraph, don't appear in the illustrations, and are not the focus of any picture, until well into the book. The ongoing disparity between text and art is unsettling; moreover, the text is often clumsy: After the death of Mary—last of the original group—the narrative leaps back to a confusing, incomplete explanation of the Pilgrims' origins. The panoramic watercolors are attractive, with expertly composed, cinematic scenes, but the text, pursuing its separate agenda, regrettably never catches up. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 1992

ISBN: 0-02-742643-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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CHRISTMAS DAY IN THE MORNING

This longer story by Nobel Laureate Buck, originally published in 1955, is presented for the first time as an illustrated work for children. Early one Christmas, an older man thinks back to his best Christmas morning in the year that he was 15 and living on his family dairy farm. That year, the narrator of the story, Rob, surprised his father with a special, heart-felt gift by getting up in the middle of the night to do all the milking by himself so his father could have Christmas morning off. The boy’s joy in planning the surprise for his father and the touching appreciation, pride, and love in the father’s gratitude are effectively conveyed in both the moving text and in Buehner’s (Snowmen at Night, p. 1385, etc.) realistic paintings. His deep-toned, striking illustrations are mainly set at night, with snowy farm scenes lit only by glowing lantern and shining star. One spread shows the Nativity scene with puffy clouds in a turquoise evening sky shaped like angel heralds, and the following memorable spread of the barn at night repeats this element with subtle clouds in the shapes of the participants in the manger setting. Buck’s sentimental but touching story memorably illustrates the value of a gift created with love, a gift like Buehner’s. (illustrator’s note) (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-688-16267-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2002

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