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A Counting Story

by Laura Krauss Melmed & illustrated by Mark Buehner

Age Range: 3 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-688-14554-X
Publisher: HarperCollins

Melmed (Moishe’s Miracle: A Hanukah Story, 2000, etc.) treats children to a traditional Thanksgiving scene while allowing them to interact in this New World counting story. The tale unfolds in rhyme as young readers count Pilgrims and Native Americans while they work together to gather nuts, pick corn, and hunt rabbits in preparation for the big feast. The fun continues as readers try to locate the wild animals lurking in every scene, including an elusive turkey that manages to avoid being caught as food for any of the 12 dinner tables. Melmed adds educational details with the mention of the Wampanoag tribe and Squanto, the sole survivor of the Patuxet tribe who came to live with the Plymouth settlers. She also alludes to the story of the Mayflower ship. Buehner’s (My Monster Mama Loves Me So, not reviewed, etc.) use of color beautifully depicts the season—quick dabs of red and orange oil paint create leaves, and long brush strokes with blended shades of blue and yellow let the ocean meet the sky. Each harvest friend has a simple smiling face, and details are reserved for scenery, such as the impressive shading used in the campfire scene that makes the light appear incredibly real. A refreshing look at an American tradition that reinforces the spirit of the holiday. (Picture book. 3-8)