Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Thanksgiving Story” as Want to Read:
The Thanksgiving Story
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Thanksgiving Story

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  786 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
In this festive Caldecott Honor–winning picture book, Alice Dalgiesh brings to life the origin of the Thanksgiving holiday for readers of all ages.

Giles, Constance and Damaris Hopkins are all passengers aboard the crowded Mayflower, journeying to the New World to start a new life. Things get a little more cramped when their baby brother Oceanus is born during the passage.
Paperback, 32 pages
Published September 1st 1985 by Aladdin (first published January 28th 1950)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Thanksgiving Story, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Thanksgiving Story

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Nov 19, 2013 midnightfaerie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
A great educational book for your children over the preschool age. A great, easy to understand book about the first Thanksgiving. Also a Caldecott award winner. My 6 yr old loved it. Lots of good information with beautiful pictures that will help keep children engaged. A great addition to any children's library.
Nov 21, 2012 Penny rated it liked it
Before I took the time to read this with the kids, I decided to check out the reviews here, as I've gotten in the habit of doing. Many of them stated that it won the Caldecott Honor Award in 1955. While I will give it that credit, it also comes with the reality that the book is, well, dated.

The story follows one Hopkins family as they journey to America. I'd be interested to fact-check the data, as it seems like some of it is supported in other sources I've read, while other details aren't. It d
Alexis Caudill
Oct 26, 2016 Alexis Caudill rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-summaries
1. Book summary, in your own words (3 pts)
The Thanksgiving Story is a Caldecott Honor Book. It tells the story of a family of pilgrims and their experience coming to America. It has beautiful illustrations.
2. Grade level, interest level, lexile (1 pt)
This would be a good book for kindergarten to 2nd grade. It is very easy to read and told in a perspective many are not used to.
3. Appropriate classroom use (subject area) (1 pt)
This could be a book I could use for the history part of class, around
Kristine Hansen
I think I've read this story before as it felt very familiar to me. I suspect somewhere in my growing up I've stumbled on this book before.

The story is given in a more non-fiction, just the facts kind of way without too much to connect the readers to the characters. I liked the illustrations but feel a great deal of history is glossed over here. Still, it's a book for kids so one can't expect too much. Overall, it isn't bad, but it isn't great either.
Sarah Kat
Aug 10, 2015 Sarah Kat rated it it was ok
This book is an entirely outdated story of the Pilgrims and Native Americans; while it is written and organized quite well, it lacks in truth. I would recommend this to adults that have a better understanding of the facts (to see what people actually believed to be the truth), but to read this to a child would be an outlandish disgrace to what is the history.
Feb 01, 2017 Danette rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Read with Naomi.
Tessa Hensley
Dec 07, 2015 Tessa Hensley rated it it was amazing
This is the story of the Mayflower sailing to America from England. It focuses specifically on one family, the Hopkins family, and their three kids. Starting from the very beginning this book tells about the assortment of people boarding the Mayflower and suffering aboard for months before finding land at last. The Hopkins family even had a new baby on the voyage.

This book is very educational and tells the story of the very first Thanksgiving in a kid friendly and understandable way. It would be
I'm a little late in the season for this one, but didn't want to return a Caldecott book to the library without reading it, so Thanksgiving at Christmastime it is. I enjoyed the artwork, but suspect this is a rather simplified version of the relations between pilgrims and the Native Americans.
A simple, and seemingly factual account told from the perspective of the Hopkins children. Even though the book alludes to the trials faced by the pilgrims in Mayflower journey and establishment of Plymouth Plantation, the Hopkins family seems to emerge unscathed, casting doubt on the veracity of the story as presented. A younger son, Oceanus is born aboard the Mayflower. Samoset and Squanto (along with peculiar reference to the suspicion of them) are referenced, as well as the Thanksgiving feas ...more
Sep 08, 2014 Kelly rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
This was my book as a child and somehow it survived all this time so that I could pull it out when my 3.5 year old son asked me "What is Thanksgiving?" I began to explain the story to him when he interrupted me to ask if thanksgiving was when you ate turkey so I decided to dig this book out to hold his attention a bit longer. :P

I had forgotten how detailed the book is and how many interesting facts were included in it for being a young child's book. It is very wordy and while my son sat and list
Ironic that I read a Thanksgiving book on Halloween, but I had started it a few days earlier and wanted something quick to read last night. This book won a 1955 Caldecott Honor. I personally was not impressed with it. The story was mildly interesting, told from the viewpoint of the Hopkins family, whose mother gave birth to a son while on the voyage to America and named him Oceanus. The family was on the Mayflower on the way from England to New Plymouth, and details their first year in the colon ...more
Becky B
In simple terms relates the crossing and landing of the Mayflower, the first year in the Colonies of the travelers, how the Native Americans helped, and the first Thanksgiving celebration.

I've read some of the diaries of the Plymouth residents and this picture book matches up with those better than most. I liked how Dalgliesh would say "probably" or "perhaps" when talking about events she wasn't exactly sure of the details. It's good for kids to see how to write about hypothesized events. The il
Aug 11, 2014 Molly rated it liked it
This picture book tells the story behind pilgrims, the Mayflower and the Thanksgiving holiday from the perspective of the fictional Hopkins family.

If my rating was based solely on the story, I would have given it just two stars as the story is just okay. There are pretty dated depictions of Indians. I try to remember that the book was written in 1954, so this is to be expected. However, even beyond that, the story was so so. The reason I gave the book three stars is I loved Helen Sewell's illust
Nov 21, 2016 Nykki rated it did not like it
I read this book to a group of first graders today and it left a bad aftertaste, like I was lying to them. It was outdated, historically inaccurate, and the narrative was weird, like the author kept mentioning a particular family but it was an overall "look" at what they believed the voyage to be like, but not from the mentioned family's perspective...the family never really seemed as if there was anything setting them apart from any other Pilgrim family, so mentioning them so often with no poin ...more
Rebecca Reid
Nov 19, 2012 Rebecca Reid rated it liked it
Alice Dagliesh’s The Thanksgiving Story (illustrated by Helen Sewell) is another book about a child’s family traveling to Plymouth. Because it is has dated illustrations, it was not a favorite for my son. Ironically, The Thanksgiving Story won a Caldecott Honor for its illustrations. It has lots of details, and we read it over the course of two different days. The story is based on a real family that traveled on the Mayflower. In general, it’s a wonderful selection for the season, but because of ...more
Faith Bailey
Dec 07, 2016 Faith Bailey rated it really liked it
Shelves: rdng-350
The thanksgiving story is one that we celebrate every year. This book gives more of the history behind it. It begins with the pilgrims sailing across to the New World, and ends with the meal that we still honor today.
This was a good read. I enjoyed the classic illustrations and the history that puts even more meaning into our grateful holiday. I think students would enjoy it too.
This would be a good one to read with the class. I don't know if many students would pick this book up from the libr
Nov 29, 2009 Dolly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is an interesting book, with the basics of the pilgrims' journey on the Mayflower and first year in a place that would be named Massachusetts. It was a timely story, great for this time of year. And with our oldest performing in a school play about Thanksgiving and our own family history, with ancestors on the Mayflower, I thought it would be a great way to introduce the topic. The illustrations are simple and the narrative is perfect for children - offering a lot of information, but not ov ...more
Jan 06, 2013 Paul rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Thanksgiving in New Plymouth told by looking at a family and especially their five children. The primitive, Americana-like illustrations have a dated feel (maybe that's good since we are coming up on the four hundredth anniversary of the sailing). There is an everyday feel to the account in describing the voyage, landing in the new territory, surviving sickness and a hard winter, encounters with those Native Americans already there, and the celebration of America's first Thanks ...more
Erin Brockway
This award winning story is about how the Pilgrims traveled to America. It told about a family and their experiences on the Mayflower and when they got to the new land. It is a story about how the first thanksgiving came about. I really like how the story is broken down into different chapters. This allows you to split the story up into different lessons and can take more than one day to read it. I would use this story to teach children what thanksgiving really is and how the Pilgrims and Indian ...more
McKenna Banks
Apr 25, 2016 McKenna Banks rated it liked it
This is the story of the first Thanksgiving in America. This book begins with the sailing of the Mayflower and continues on to describe the terrible conditions that the passengers endured on the way to the new land. The book explains how times were rough when the first arrived, and it also explains how the holiday of Thanksgiving came to be. I really liked the illustrations in this book. I also liked the way that it read like a fiction, but was still full of facts. I would read this every year a ...more
Laura Verret
May 02, 2015 Laura Verret rated it really liked it
In this beginning reader, Alice Dalgliesh treats us to an experience of the Mayflower voyage and subsequent Pilgrim experiment at Plymouth through the eyes of the young Hopkins children, Giles, Constance, and Damaris. Through them we experience the storms at sea, Indian attacks, deadly illnesses, and finally the period of peace and prosperity enjoyed around the first Thanksgiving.

Conclusion. Great – well illustrated and illuminating.

Visit The Blithering Bookster to read more reviews!

Nancy Mosqueda
"The Thanksgiving Story" tells the story of the first settlers or pilgrims of Plymouth. Not only are we told about their travels but also about their interactions with the Indians and their struggle to adapt to a new place, while learnig new ways in which to harvest and think. Finally we learn about teh Thanksgiving Dinner and how the pilgrims interacted with the Indians. It is a good book for children to be taught about thangsgiving and its history. Not only does it contain simple vocabulary bu ...more
Oct 27, 2016 Judy rated it liked it
I'd use this with 8 or 9 year old children. Younger kids would probably lose interest fairly quickly, but a child with imagination could get a sense of what those first settlers experienced. Is it totally accurate? Probably not; it was written in the early 1950s, but it does tell the basic story, and it does say that there were "so few Indians in that part of the country" because "many of them had died of sickness." (That's an important part of the story that I didn't learn in elementary school. ...more
Sarah Brindley
Nov 27, 2010 Sarah Brindley rated it really liked it
This is my informational genre. The Thanksgiving Story is an easy-to-understand version for elementary students that begins with the Pilgrims departure from England and continues through the Thanksgiving story. The text is good, but the illustrations are very stiff--not lifelike at all. However, there is good use of shading in the color, and the illustrations have an interesting perspective. For an overall, historically accurate version of the Pilgrims journey to America, I give this a four-star ...more
Rosa Cline
Dec 14, 2015 Rosa Cline rated it really liked it
This was a very good Thanksgiving story for older children (was to long and to in detail for younger readers-listeners) It also won a Caldecott Honor award. Written in 1954 so the illustrations are 'different' than children are used to now. But the lessons and the story itself is still 'true' today. It tells of the ships that were used, the struggles they had the new baby that was born, the Indians that helped etc. A nice story to help explain the 1st Thanksgiving.
While I thought that it was a nice idea to tell children the story of how Thanksgiving came to be, I didn't find this book all that interesting or informative. The main characters of the story were hardly mentioned and I was soon tired of the way this book had been written, seeming to be dumbed-down for children. An okay book, but one you can definitely skip.

*Taken from my book reviews blog:
Etta Mcquade
Sep 25, 2010 Etta Mcquade rated it it was amazing
A wonderfully,clearly written children's book, with delightful, colorful illustrations. (Did you know the Pilgrim's didn't just wear black?) I love the Stephen Hopkins family on whom the book centers, especially Damaris, who is an ancester on my my father's line. And Oceanus, so named because he was born on ship. I'm sure President Gordon B. Hinckley would have liked the book, too, because he is also a descendant of Stephen Hopkins. Every family needs this book.
Mar 04, 2012 Beverly rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
The edition of the book that I examined did not mention what medium was used to create these paintings, but the blurb does mention that Sewell created her illustrations in the spirit and character of American primitive paintings. There are several full page paintings, decorative silhouettes, a simple diagram of the Mayflower, and a simple map of the Plymouth colony. There is a lot of text, so this book is best used with elementary school students.
(Caldecott Honor, 1955)
Dec 30, 2011 Lorna rated it it was ok
1955 Caldecott Honor

Favorite illustration: The two page, wordless spread depicting the feast at the end

Favorite line: "The Pilgrims did not forget the hard times. They knew there would be difficult times to come. Stil, they felt they had many things to be thankful for."

Kid-appeal: Kids might appreciate hearing about the details of this family's hardships in coming to America, though at times the text is very wordy and many pages have no illustrations.

Dec 13, 2011 Darlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book with my children. It won the Caldecott Honor for 1955.

I think this is my favourite version of the first American Thanksgiving that is in short chapter format. The language was suitable for even my four-year old to understand, and there is just enough information presented without being overwhelming.

The illustrations by Sewell enhance the story.

MY RATING: 4 stars! We really enjoyed it!!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Ape in a Cape: An Alphabet of Odd Animals
  • North American Indians
  • Skippack School
  • The Most Wonderful Doll in the World (Blue Ribbon Book)
  • Squanto, Friend Of The Pilgrims
  • Three Young Pilgrims
  • April's Kittens
  • The Lewis & Clark Expedition
  • Umbrella
  • Meet Thomas Jefferson
  • A Pocketful of Cricket
  • If You Were There When They Signed The Constitution
  • The First Thanksgiving
  • The Wave
  • Anatole and the Cat (Anatole, #2)
  • Sarah Whitcher's Story
  • Meet George Washington
  • Journey Cake, Ho!
Family: Born in Trinidad, British West Indies; naturalized U.S. citizen; died in Woodbury, CT; daughter of John and Alice (Haynes) Dalgliesh.

Educator, editor, book reviewer, and author, Dalgliesh was an elementary school teacher for nearly seventeen years, and later taught a course in children's literature at Columbia University. From 1934 to 1960 she served as children's book editor for Charles
More about Alice Dalgliesh...

Share This Book