GIVING THANKS

THE 1621 HARVEST FEAST

Actors from the Plimoth Plantation Restoration and members of the Wampanoag tribe reenact an early harvest celebration in this glossy photo essay set in Plymouth Colony in 1621. The story, loosely based on letters and other historic documents, is told in two voices on alternate pages by Dancing Moccasins, a 14-year-old Wampanoag and Resolved White, a six-year-old English boy. Photographs on every page compare and contrast the appearance and activities of the people. Both actors and Wampanoag appear self-conscious and stiff. Though the dialogue is spiced with information on food, food preparation, games, and activities it is often wooden and unconvincing. For example, Resolve says: “Mother calls me home. I help cook, since the celebration will last several days. As swiftly as I can, I grind corn for samp while mother roasts one of the ducks I plucked.” Elsewhere, Dancing Moccasin says: “Some of the men dance to the songs. They do the warrior’s dance. I can see the English boy watching from the hill.” Literally accurate perhaps, but not enough information to be helpful for young readers. Endnotes give additional information about food, clothing, and thanksgiving customs of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag. There is a word on the actors and contemporary members of the Wampanoag and a glossary of words as well as a few titles for additional reading. Purchase where other titles by Waters in the “Children of 1620’s” series are popular. (Nonfiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-439-24395-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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GINGERBREAD BABY

In a snowbound Swiss village, Matti figures it’s a good day to make a gingerbread man. He and his mother mix a batch of gingerbread and tuck it in the oven, but Matti is too impatient to wait ten minutes without peeking. When he opens the door, out pops a gingerbread baby, taunting the familiar refrain, “Catch me if you can.” The brash imp races all over the village, teasing animals and tweaking the noses of the citizenry, until there is a fair crowd on his heels intent on giving him a drubbing. Always he remains just out of reach as he races over the winterscape, beautifully rendered with elegant countryside and architectural details by Brett. All the while, Matti is busy back home, building a gingerbread house to entice the nervy cookie to safe harbor. It works, too, and Matti is able to spirit the gingerbread baby away from the mob. The mischief-maker may be a brat, but the gingerbread cookie is also the agent of good cheer, and Brett allows that spirit to run free on these pages. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23444-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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AN ELF FOR CHRISTMAS

The text in Garland’s book has little merit, and appears mostly as an excuse for the digital artwork. The night before Christmas, Tingle, a diligent elf in Santa’s workshop, falls asleep in the cockpit of a toy plane he has been working on. When the plane is wrapped, so is he, and the package is tucked into Santa’s sleigh and delivered to Joey for Christmas. Tingle gets homesick, flies the plane homeward, runs out of power, and hitches a ride with a polar bear. Garland makes no effort to endow his principals with any personality or presence; the artwork suffers from a grating juxtaposition of hyperrealism and smoky, blurred imagery. The proportions and depths of field are discomfittingly exaggerated, except for a scene in which the northern lights are on display above Santa’s workshop—there the otherworldliness perfectly matches the event. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-525-46212-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1999

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