Friday, November 15, 2013

PPBF: Cranberry Thanksgiving

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

Cranberry Thanksgiving
Written and illustrated by Wende and Harry Devlin
Simon & Schuster, 1971, Fiction, ages 4-8

Themes:
Holidays, Misunderstandings, Appearances

Opening:
"Maggie darted about like a black-stockingbird,  in search of wood for the fireplace. She and her grandmother lived at the edge of a lonely cranberry bog in New England, and the winds were cold at the edge of the sea."

Synopsis:
Grandma's favorite day of the year is Thanksgiving. She is always generous with the food on her table, but not so the recipe for her coveted cranberry bread. Maggie and her grandmother each invite a friend for dinner, but not everyone knows how to mind their manners. While they are enjoying Grandma's homemade fare, someone plans to make off with the secret recipe.


What I Love:
This book is over forty years old, and while it may be a little text-heavy for some of today's editors, the prose is as lovely as any modern writer's. The illustrations are an unusual mix of watercolor and ink line, but they only serve to reinforce the old-fashioned New England setting. The colors are lively. The characters are, well, adorable! Harry Devlin's composition is superb. Wende's storyline, timeless. This book could easily be published today, and has in fact been reissued by Purple House Press.

Thanks to Today's Inspiration illustration blog for this gorgeous interior art by Harry Devlin.


Bonus:
Thanks to GoodIdeasandTips
1. Surprise! There are more adventures of Maggie and her grandma on the cranberry farm. I can't wait to find them all.
2. Cranberry Thanksgiving includes the not-so-secret recipe for Grandmother's cranberry bread. Readers will love baking a loaf or two, just like the characters in the story. If you can't wait, click here.
3. Make a healthy cranberry-apple turkey for snack-time.
4. Use the opportunity to learn how cranberries grow. Visit a bog, like this one in Cape Cod.
5. If anyone finds instructions for a great yarn beard like Mr. Whiskers's, please email the link to me. I'll keep looking.


Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for November 15, 2013, available on Susanna Leonard Hill's excellent blog.

16 comments:

  1. Fabulous Joanne!

    I've never timed my trips to the Cape correctly to actually witness the cranberry harvest. I'll settle for reading this wonderful book!!

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    1. I hope to visit New England someday, and will have to add this to my agenda. Thanks for your comments!

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  2. Reminds me of my childhood, and my years as a children's school librarian. Combined with the fact that I love New England, it's a winner with me!

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    1. The illustrations of a great stone fireplace and rolling fields made me nostalgic for childhood too. (although this was more a childhood I dreamed of having than the one I knew)
      No wonder you pick such amazing books; you were a librarian!!!

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  3. Oh, what a lovely book to share. The illustrations are just lovely. Reminds me of my childhood too. I love cranberries in anything and everything. My favorite is cranberry pie.

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    1. Thanks. Can you post the recipe for cranberry pie on your blog? I've never heard of such a thing. I've got to make one!

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  4. Oh, this sounds just delightful, Joanne! I love the art and the older feel of the story. And what great activities! Thanks for sharing this one!

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    1. Thanks, Susanna. I love a good Thanksgiving book!

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  5. We have this book and A Cranberry Christmas as well! i love them both. And the smell of cranberry bread is scrumptious. I have to beg pretty hard to get a bite! Thanks for sharing this favorite!

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    1. I hope you get more than enough goodies this holiday. I can't wait to find Cranberry Christmas.

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  6. What a beautiful book. The story is lovely and the illustrations are gorgeous. I love cranberry jelly is goes well with Christmas Ham. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I was pleased to find our little library had this book. I hope yours does too. Thanks for visiting.

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  7. Looks great and that's neat it's been published again. I'll see if I can find a copy. 1971 … that's a good year.

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    1. I'm partial to '69, myself, but you can't beat the 70's.

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  8. Love the illustrations! And that apple-cranberry turkey is the cutest activity!!!

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    1. We did an apple turkey with gumdrops once, but I like this version much better.

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Thank-you for taking time to share your thoughts!