Friday, November 21, 2014

PPBF: The First Thanksgiving Day: A Counting Book

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

A Thanksgiving counting story
by Laura Krauss Melmed and Mark Buehner
This First Thanksgiving Day
Written by Laura Krauss Melmed
Illustrated by Mark Buehner
HarperCollins, 2001
ages 4-6

1 Dressed in linen,
sitting in a tree,
dreaming of the tall, strong ship
on which he crossed the sea.

2 Dressed in deerskin,
gathering nuts below,
giggling as they tiptoe by,
too shy to say hello.

Holiday, Counting, Historical

This simple Thanksgiving counting book alternates between Pilgrim preparations and those of the Wampanoag. From one to twelve, the gentle rhymes lead the reader from gathering  food to feasting in this colorful picture book for the very young.

What I Love:
This may not be Laura's best book of verse, but  it is still charming and full of historical details. It's a perfect book to count down to the Thanksgiving holiday, to halt the headlong rush into Christmas for a moment of genuine gratitude.

Mark's illustrations are playful, and he packs them full of the details little readers will want to study. He includes animals to count, hidden pictures, and an elusive turkey on every page. Can you spot the cat hidden on the cover pictured above?

1. The book's hidden pictures and historical elements beg to be discussed.
2. Learn the history of the Wampanoag nations.
3.  Use a fun PDF from the USGS on animal tracks and casting them in plaster (like number 6 in the book!)
4. Cook up a clam stew (like number 8) from Taste of Home.
5. Weave your own upcycled paper basket (like number 10 in the book!) from Instructibles.
6. For a change of pace, try this cranberry pistachio biscotti recipe from All Recipes.
7. Check out these and other Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Julie
Reviewed by Penny
Reviewed by Erik
Reviewed by Susanna

Did you find the hidden cat?
Hint: It's upside down!
Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for November 21, 2014 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.


  1. That cat does look rather ghastly upside down in the bushes, though the cover is striking!

    1. Kids love how Mark hides pictures in all his books. I love his colorful style. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. This looks like a great book! I've placed it on hold because it is apparently the most popular book at my library right now. They have 27 copies of this book and only one is available at a 30 minute drive away. Alas -- we'll have to read it after Thanksgiving. No matter! A good book is a good book. We're looking forward to reading it. Thank you for the recommendation.

    1. Oh, no! I don't know how many copies are at our local branch, but I saw one on display as I was picking up my daughter today :( 'Wish I could send it to you for the holoidays! Thanks for reading.

  3. Sounds like an interesting structure: alternating between Pilgrims and Wampanoag. I'm going to look for it.

    1. Laura's books usually have something for a writer to learn. I admire many of her books. Thanks, and happy Thanksgiving.

  4. Such a wonderful share for the holiday. I stories based on historical facts. Unusual presentation with the alternating stories. Sorry, I missed you post. I may have posted twice, because after I hit publish it didn't show my acct. Will try under URL.


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