Have you looked at the calendar lately?
This always happens, doesn’t it? You find yourself in October, prepare for Halloween, and then — BOOM! Time starts zipping by.
I sometimes think about the articles I read or the cute little sayings I see pinned onto Pinterest boards about taking time to relax and breathe and absorb this time of year. I’m not opposed to the notion, mind you, I just wonder how that happens what with all the laundry and the carpooling and the dishes and the necessary wine drinking out on the front porch? The time, it flies… and now we find ourselves on the brink of Thanksgiving.
Going anywhere this Thanksgiving? I ask because I’d love to nose into your business and make the suggestion that books can make a wonderful host/hostess gift!
~ They travel well (slide it on into your carry-on or tuck it into your suitcase!), don’t take up much space, and don’t require refrigeration or a special knife to cut it or a slotted spoon or a warm oven.
~ They can act as entertainment (especially if the home you’re visiting has children or grandchildren) as well as seasonal décor.
~ They’re timeless.
But not just any book! Oh, no! As I tell my very young students who are just learning how to check books out of the library, I’d like you to make a thoughtful choice. What about –especially if you’re invited to the same home every year for Thanksgiving – starting a collection of Thanksgiving books for your hostess? Or, a book that, given this time of year, is sure to please and entertain?
Without further ado, here is a list of books that might make your Thanksgiving host or hostess pretty darn tickled to have included you in this year’s feast.
Idea I: Thanksgiving Book Ideas – a few Thanksgiving books that are quality reads and make particularly handsome coffee table additions.
This would be a lovely pick for any nature-lovers you know. Chief Swamp thanks mother earth, the deep blue waters, green grasses, and all living creatures in a soothing, beautiful picture book.
A perfect match for any history buffs you might visit, Thank You, Sarah not only details Sarah Hale’s work in making Thanksgiving a national holiday, but it also reminds readers that the pen is mightier than the sword, that persistence can pay off, and that you should “[n]ever underestimate dainty little ladies.” Truth. The end papers contain a wealth of further information about the history of Thanksgiving.
Thanks a Million by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera
Not technically a Thanksgiving book, gift this book of poetry whenever you feel gratitude towards someone special, particularly a poetry-lover. Some of the poems might be more appreciated by older readers, which makes it even more suitable as a hostess gift.
Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman.
All of Wilson’s Bear books are precious, but this could be a favorite of mine – and certainly an appropriate addition to a Thanksgiving book collection. Bear has bare cupboards, so when his forest friends keep popping in to share food, he finally cries out that he has nothing to share in return. His friend, Mouse, tells him not to fret, “you have stories to share!” These animals are true friends: they give without expectation and are genuinely grateful for each other.
It’s Thanksgiving by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Marilyn Hafner
Jack Prelutsky is one of the Kings of Children’s Poetry. His Thanksgiving compliation, while intended for children, is so honest and funny and real, anyone is sure to enjoy poems that cover such topics as a Thanksgiving football game, watching someone make a mess of slicing a turkey, and dreading leftovers once Thanksgiving has come and gone.
The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell
I’m a Thanksgiving purist. Christmas can wait until Thanksgiving is over, thankyouverymuch, so I hesitate to include this book on the list. It never mentions Christmas or Thanksgiving, for that matter, though the setting is a snowy, wintery one; ultimately, I’ve determined this little book truly can be gifted at any time of year because the message will always ring true. And. It. Is. Perfect. In short, it is a reminder that our very best gifts are those that don’t cost a thing.
Idea II: The Grandparent: traveling over the river and through the woods and don’t know what to do for grandma and grandpa as a little thank-you for hosting Thanksgiving? Try one of these.
Both of these books are simply hilarious. If you’re visiting grandparents, these might be an amusing way to celebrate the child-grandparent relationship. They’re certainly a departure from the oh-how-much-I-love-you-and-dream-about-you-all-day-long sort of story.
A sweet rhyming story about the nature of how memories begin, grow, and change with delightful, soft illustrations alongside. The end of the story shares a list by the author and another by the illustrator of their own special memories. I can only imagine that this book would lend itself to recollecting memories after reading it together. A perfect springboard for conversation or a little art project to accompany the book.
Idea III: Word Play – have a family (like mine) that likes to play games and really enjoys word play? Easier to pack than a big ol’ board game but just as fun, try one of these books to bring the family together over the holidays for some old-fashioned together-time and lots of laughter.
Smart Feller, Fart Smeller by Jon Agee
Do you know what a spoonerism is? It is when you swap the beginning sound of one word with the beginning sound of another word. The title of this book is a spoonerism: Smart Feller becomes Fart Smeller. Cool, huh?The book is a series of riddles, the answer is a spoonerism. Something like this:
Q: What did the cowboy say to the rocket scientist? A:You sure are a fart smeller!
Often games and word play are dominated by adults, but sometimes children figure out these riddles first! Give it a try among family and friends – it is simply too much fun.
A Wordle, as Rosenthal tells us, are “phonetically identical phrases.” Once again, the title is an example: Ice Scream and Ice Cream. Travel through this funny book of worlde riddles and see if anyone at your Thanksgiving celebration can solve them! (Never heard of Amy Krause Rosenthal? Oh, dear! I’ve written about her before.)
Get it? See the Sea? Between the non-words and the illustrations, can you figure out what is being “said” in this book? If you enjoy it, also take a look at CDB! by Steig. This might appeal to those who enjoy a good game of Mad Gab.
Bob Staake’s Look! Another book! by Bob Staake
Okay, so this isn’t really a word-play book, but it could entertain a couple of readers on a couch. Similar to the popular I Spy series (also good), this is a book of picture and word clues and a page full of details in which you hunt down what it is you’re looking for. A lot quieter than a video game and maybe a way for a couple of tots to spend time with Great Uncle Joe!
Have some of your own suggestions? Let’s hear ’em! No matter how you choose to honor your host or hostess, I do hope that you . . .
. . . keep reading,
Contact me at fplweb (at) frontporchlibrarian dot com