We’re thankful for picture books (& giveaways!)

Thanksgiving is nearly a week away, and if you know little ones who love to read, there are many picture books that will help them celebrate the holiday. A couple releases from this year include Jacqueline Jules’ Duck for Turkey Day and Laurie Friedman’s Thanksgiving Rules.

Duck for Turkey Day is about Tuyet, a Vietnamese-American girl in elementary school, who longs for her family to have a traditional Thanksgiving meal (instead, they eat duck). Tuyet ultimately learns that turkey is the least important part of Thanksgiving “as long as you have a good time with family and friends.”

Thanksgiving Rules is a hilarious guide to getting to the Thanksgiving buffet as fast as possible (“After you’re done cleaning, I’m sure you’ll want to EAT. But you can’t do that just yet. First, you have to greet.”)

Full reviews are below the jump, complete with a trailer of Duck for Turkey Day and a podcast with Laurie Friedman.

At BookPage, we have a copy of Thanksgiving Rules. We think a read-a-loud from Friedman’s book would make a great Thanksgiving Day activity, and we’ll choose a commenter at random to get their own copy.

For a chance to win, answer this question in the comments: What book are you thankful for? We’ll announce a winner tomorrow afternoon.

The many ways of giving thanks

In these two Thanksgiving-themed picture books, children learn about multicultural holiday traditions, the rules for getting the most out of your meal and the most important Thanksgiving lesson of all: It’s who you spend it with that matters.

Duck for Turkey Day
By Jacqueline Jules
Albert Whitman & Company, $16.99, 32 pages, ages 4-8

The menu’s not important

From feasts on sitcoms to advertisements in magazines, the image of a “traditional” Thanksgiving meal is everywhere this time of year. There is no doubt about what that meal entails: dressing, cranberries, green beans, pumpkin pie – and most important of all, turkey.

But what if your family doesn’t eat turkey on Thanksgiving? Is it still Thanksgiving?

In Duck for Turkey Day, Jacqueline Jules thoughtfully addresses this topic by way of Tuyet, a young Vietnamese-American girl who is troubled by her family’s unconventional Thanksgiving menu. Tuyet has happily participated in all the requisite Thanksgiving school activities – learned about Pilgrims and Native Americans, made a turkey out of a pinecone – and she’s upset that her family’s tradition veers from the norm.

Tuyet nearly bursts into tears on her classroom’s “story rug” after the holiday weekend; she’s embarrassed to share that her family ate duck . . . that is, until she hears what her classmates had to eat: lamb, enchiladas, even tofu turkey. Tuyet’s teacher explains that turkey is the least important part of Thanksgiving, “as long as you have a good time with family and friends.”

Kathryn Miller’s colorful illustrations realistically portray Tuyet’s range of emotions as she grapples with being different on the most American of holidays. And Jules, who has written 14 children’s books, will convince any child that her family’s traditions have a place in our multicultural nation.

Thanksgiving Rules
By Laurie Friedman
Carolrhoda Books, $16.95, 32 pages, ages 4-8

A kid’s guide to Thanksgiving

Percy Isaac Gifford, the precocious young narrator in Laurie Friedman’s Thanksgiving Rules, knows the secrets to stuffing yourself on Turkey Day: get dressed (in whatever clothes Mom wants); help clean up the house; be nice to your family . . . and then you get to eat! Percy explains these rules in hilarious, energetic rhymes (“After you’re done cleaning, I’m sure you’ll want to EAT. But you can’t do that just yet. First, you have to greet.”). Teresa Murfin’s wonderful illustrations of turkey, pie and Percy’s large family will keep any young reader alert as they bounce along to the story’s climax – the moment of approaching the Thanksgiving buffet.

For some, Thanksgiving has a reputation of being a tedious obligation filled with strained family reunions and mediocre mincemeat, but you wouldn’t know it from Friedman’s guide to enjoying the holiday. And although food is the main event for Percy Isaac Gifford, there are plenty of small lessons squeezed into this delicious story. Percy explains that appreciating your family – especially the ones who prepared your feast – is a “big deal.” Although he wants to give his family members a giant hug after the meal, Percy gives everyone a “light peck on the cheek” to prevent the overeaters from exploding – and shows us how fun it can be to give thanks with loved ones.

Watch the YouTube trailer of Duck for Turkey Day:

Listen to a podcast with Laurie Friedman, author of Thanksgiving Rules.

Related in BookPage: “A harvest of thankful books.”

22 Responses to We’re thankful for picture books (& giveaways!)

  1. I know it is so cliche but I am thankful for my family!

  2. Gina says:

    These books look wonderful! As far as what I am thankful for….I second the first persons comment. My family….gotts love mom….and my pups! It’s so important to keep those you love close, and this time of year just reminds us of that even more.

  3. Meredith says:

    I am thankful for every Dr. Seuss book. If I had to choose just one though, I would have to pick… oooh I can’t decide… OK, “Fox in Socks!”

  4. traylorillo says:

    I am thankful for all of the books I read as a child but most of all, I’m thankful for my favorite book, “Where the Wild Things Are”, by Maurice Sendak. It inspired me to pursue a career in children’s illustration from a very early age. I still have a tattered, much loved copy.

  5. Megan says:

    I’m thankful for my baby girl and the fact that she has a lifetime of reading great books ahead of her!

  6. MammaJ says:

    I am thankful for the curious minds of the young and to live in a time and place where the world is at your fingertips through books. My 8 year old recently received an atlas as a present. With no input from her parents she has learned about people from all over the world and comes home from school ready to read more and learn how to say simple words in a variety of languages. The level to which it has inspired her just blew us away and reminded me that the simplest thing can ignite the spark to knowledge.

  7. PKLAZ96 says:

    I’m thankful that my parents introduced me to the wonderful world of books many years ago. Books have provided knowledge, insight, advice, humor, company, and so much more. The world would be a much colder place without books. I’m so grateful that our love of books was passed on to our daughters and our grandchildren.

  8. PKLAZ96 says:

    Whoops – forgot to mention my favorite book – I remember my father bringing home a Nancy Drew book when I was home sick with an ear infection. Mysteries have always been special since then.

  9. Amy says:

    I am thankful for the Giving Tree and the Mitten, two of my favorite books to read to my little girl! We’d love to have these books for our library. :)

  10. Glenda York says:

    I am thankful for Charlotte’s Web…that most amazing children’s book that got me started on my life long love of reading.

  11. marieDee says:

    There are so many things for which to be thankful, but the one that seems most appropriate here is: I am thankful for the gifted writers and illustrators of children’s books, for the joy that their work brings to children and adults all over the world.

  12. liz deskins says:

    I am thankful that I am in a position to help others less fortunate this holiday. I just got back from the grocery where I was buying groceries to enable 4 families from my school to have a wonderful dinner!

  13. Linda Skeers says:

    I’m thankful for the book ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO-GOOD, VERY BAD DAY. I loved it. My boys loved it. Nice to know that bad days are universal. This is the book that made me want to be a children’s author!

  14. Nadia says:

    I’m thankful for all the books I read as a child, but my favorite one was Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile by Bernard Waber. I just loved this book as a kid, because the idea of this civilized crocodile living in NYC just cheered me to bits! Cheers!

  15. Linda O. says:

    Thankful for a home that is my sanctuary of family and critters.

  16. swhite says:

    I am thankful for “The Secret Garden,” which my second grade teacher read to the class each day after lunch. I still love the story today.

  17. Karen says:

    I am thankful for Mo Willems’ “Elephant & Piggie” series of books! My youngest son was a reluctant reader and these were the first books that he read aloud without complaint. He has since become more confident in his reading skills and is an avid reader just like the rest of my family. We have some of the series in our library’s K-12 collection and I always recommend them to students or parents who come in to find good books for a beginning reader.

  18. veronica bartley says:

    “Children’s” books that I am most grateful for and to: Alice in Wonderland (curiosity pays off), The Secret Garden (I am still creaating mine), Mistress Masham’s Repose (so that’s where the Liluputians got to!)the original Pinnochio (no Walt Disney illustrations, just beautiful watercolors), The Wizard of Oz (which I read over and over to my own children)Baba Yaga (ditto)and the book to bridge right into now, To Kill a Mockingbird. TY for providing a ten minute visit back to some of the books I love.

  19. Joan says:

    I am thankful for Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. I read it to my daughter until we both knew it by heart. It’s silly but it also teaches you to try new things – you may be surprised.

  20. Julie S. says:

    I’m thankful for the Bobbsey Twins books from the 60’s for making me a fast reader and a voracious one! (Now if only mom hadn’t thrown those two away because I was reading and not setting the table….hmm, still remember that!)

  21. Sue Kroesche says:

    It’s hard to pick one to be thankful for most because there have been so many that have made a huge impression on me. I think I have to be thankful for a book like Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis because it was one that made me think a little more deeply than most of the books I had been used to reading up to that time.

  22. Rebecca Booth says:

    I am thankful for all the books I read as a child. My favorites were the Nancy Drew series and the Little House on the Prairie series.

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