In my review of … If you Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620, I referenced my family’s collection of ‘pilgrim books’ that we read every year when I was a child. The Pilgrim’s First Thanksgiving was my favorite book in that collection. I read it a lot. Because of that, I was super happy to find my own copy of it at a recent book sale.
Since all of you already know the story of the Pilgrims, there isn’t anything for me to say about the story told in The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving. But I will state a few praises.
Perhaps my favorite thing about The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving is its sobriety. Most children’s books seek to entice young readers by ‘sillyfying’ (a word of my own invention) the story and using ridiculous looking cartoon characters. The Pilgrim’s First Thanksgiving doesn’t.
On the contrary, it presents sober, life-like illustrations to accompany the serious text. It emphasizes the hardships that the Pilgrims faced and praises their intense work ethic.
The Indians are depicted tastefully (meaning almost entirely clothed).
On the first page Ms. McGovern correctly, if simplistically, explains that the reason the Pilgrims left their old country was because “they could not pray the way they wanted.” She later explains that the Pilgrims worked on every day but Sunday because, “Sunday was the time to think about God. They prayed and sang and listened to long sermons.” [pg. 12]
Conclusion. A sweet but serious account of the Pilgrims’ story.
Review © 2012 Laura Verret