The Perfect Thanksgiving

Book review by
Marigny Dupuy, Common Sense Media
The Perfect Thanksgiving Book Poster Image
Thanksgiving isn't about having the "perfect" day.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this story has a clear moral: that the success of a holiday celebration depends more on what you feel than on what you see (or taste).

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What's the story?

On alternating pages, the young narrator, along with two talking turkeys (one "real" and the other a cutout finger turkey), compare her own family's Thanksgiving celebration with that of her friend Abigail Archer's family. Abigail's family is quiet, polite, and formal, while the narrator's is loud, rather wild, and informal. Abigail's mother serves homemade pies with fancy whipped cream swirls, while the narrator's mother serves store-bought pie and jello mold with no whipped cream. Admittedly quite different in style, both families are loving and kind, so the narrator gives them both marks of "ultra perfect."

Is it any good?

The author of this colorful, heartwarming story compares and contrasts a "perfect" family's Thanksgiving Day with that of a more ragtag crew. She finds them to be equally good, of course, because of the love that is apparent in each family: It is not the family's style that counts, but the feelings between the family members.

The humorous story is written from the child's point of view and focuses on just the sorts of things that a child might notice. As the young narrator goes down her list of things that are right about Abigail's family and wrong about her own, the reader can tell that she fears that her family will not make the grade. Happily, in the end, she can see beneath the contrasting exteriors of the two families to the close-knit feelings in each. The gouache, colored pencil, and collage art is zany, contemporary, and attractive.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what makes a holiday meaningful. What's important to you at Thanksgiving? What about the other holidays your family celebrates? How are your friends' celebrations similar to -- or different from -- your own?

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