A Pioneer Thanksgiving: A Story of Harvest Celebrations in 1841 Hardcover – Sep 1 1999
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From School Library Journal
Grade 3-5-A satisfying and well-researched blend of fact and fiction about pioneer life. In this sequel to A Pioneer Sampler (Ticknor & Fields, 1995), Greenwood and Collins again recount the adventures of the fictional Robertson family, this time as they prepare to celebrate the harvest in the fall of 1841. Three stories are interspersed among descriptions of some of the staples of a traditional Thanksgiving meal of the time, recipes for making some of the food specialties, and instructions for making and playing some of the games. The narrative is carefully crafted to make the experiences described equally valid for Canadians and for residents of the northern United States. The Native American neighbors and friends of the Robertsons are referred to as First Peoples, and the specific tribes mentioned as holding their own harvest feasts and festivals include the Iroquois and Ojibwa. The recipes and craft instructions are clear, measurements are given in both metric and U.S. Customary Units, and adult assistance is recommended where appropriate. The pencil drawings support the text and enhance its clarity. This entertaining title offers a different take on the holiday and provides solid information about the history and customs of celebrations dating back to the first North American Thanksgiving in 1578. A welcome addition to all libraries.
Linda Greengrass, Bank Street College Library, New York City
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
This fine sequel to A Pioneer Story (1995) follows the Robertson family as they prepare for a celebration of the harvest of 1841. Greenwood spins a heartwarming and exciting tale of the Robertson children's adventures gathering cranberries for sauce and chestnuts for stuffing, making festival bread, and listening to stories of the "hungry year" from old Mr. Burkholder. But readers are given more than a story: the text is filled with related topics, including recipes, as well as instructions for making craft projects and playing games from the time period. There are also sections that explain actions and events from the story. For example, a segment "Harvest Superstitions" follows a chapter in the story in which Sarah Robertson sits at her ailing grandmother's bedside making a corn dolly, a braided straw doll that Granny insists must be ploughed into the earth each spring to ensure a good harvest. A history of harvest celebrations throughout the years ends the book. Beautifully rendered charcoal and sepia-toned drawings match the story's setting and provide visual instruction for the enticing crafts, games, and recipes. Lauren PetersonSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Summary: Follows the Robertson family as they gather together the ingredients for their meal from the wild and prepare the meal and Sarah realizes all she has to be thankful for.
Comments: While only a fraction of the size of the first book, A Pioneer Story, this book keeps to the same format with chapters of the story followed by non-fiction sections that carry factual information plus crafts and recipes. Again the crafts are simple to make though will require a gathering of 'not just laying around the house' supplies. The book again is illustrated with Heather Collins lovely sepia and dark brown pencil drawings which draw attention to the time period of the story.
The story is very much Canadian with the whole story focusing on the harvesting and remembrances of the Old Countries' (Europe) harvest customs. The book finally ends with a brief but very enlightening explanation of how our Thanksgiving is in Oct. and the US's is in November and why our Thanksgiving doesn't involve a single Pilgrim. Did you know Canada didn't even officially call the holiday 'Thanksgiving Day' until 1957?!
I also am pleased with how the secular publisher dealt with the Christian aspect of the Pioneer's lives and role it would have played in their Thanksgiving. Rather than ignoring it as is often the case with history books aimed at the secular public, it is briefly, factually woven into the story. Sarah reads to her sickly Grandmother from the Bible and at the end of the book when the family sits down to eat Pa says grace. Then there is a brief non-fiction page explaining grace, giving some examples of different ones the pioneers may have said, even one in German that the Robertson's German neighbours may have used.
A wonderful book for Canadian children to learn the true meaning and history of Thanksgiving in Canada.
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