Fat Chance Thanksgiving
by Patricia Lakin
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-In this story set in New York City, Carla and her mother are placed in an apartment after a one-year wait. The child's only possession, saved from a fire that destroyed their belongings, is a book, A Pilgrim Thanksgiving. Carla imagines herself as a Pilgrim girl and identifies her new home as a new land. When she mentions having a Thanksgiving feast, her mother's response is, "Fat chance." Undaunted, the youngster organizes a potluck dinner in the apartment-house lobby where strangers become friends and neighbors. The presentation is somewhat didactic and the ending is not surprising. However, the message is clear. The story and acrylic-and-gouache illustrations showing the Pilgrim feast juxtaposed with the modern urban apartment will be helpful in bringing the two worlds together. The illustrations are clear and colorful and large enough for a read-aloud. At the same time, the text is simple enough for beginning readers and the format will appeal to reluctant readers. This title is likely to have seasonal demand.-Marlene Gawron, Orange County Library, Orlando, FL
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Booklist, September 1, 2001, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.:
Gr. 2-4. Lakin's sweet story, an ode to the spirit of Thanksgiving, challenges children to imagine what it must be like to lose everything. When the inner-city apartment Carla and her mother live in is destroyed by fire, Carla's sole remaining possession is a book about the Pilgrim's first Thanksgiving, which she reads over and over as she waits to move to a new home. The idea of a Thanksgiving feast travels with her when she and her mother settle into their new place. But the apartments are small, money is tight, and the neighbors self-absorbed. Still, Carla is determined, and she rallies the residents for a potluck. The food reflects the diversity of the neighbors--from traditional sweet potato pie to Irish stew to roti bread--and everyone has a wonderful time as they discover the joy of community. A loving story of determination and sharing brought to life in richly colored, expressive artwork.
¾: Shelley Townsend-Hudson.: