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The Very First Thanksgiving Day
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The Very First Thanksgiving Day

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  224 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
From the same team that brought you The Day Jesus Was Born comes a charming story that introduces the Thanksgiving holiday to young readers.

This is the food, gathered and blessed,
the corn and sweet berries, and wild turkey dressed,
shared on the very first Thanksgiving Day.

Join author Rhonda Gowler Greene and illustrator Susan Gaber on a journey back to the very first Th
Paperback, 32 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Joey Fong
Nov 20, 2011 Joey Fong rated it did not like it
The book provides a brief history of pilgrims, Indians, and the journey to the new world on Mayflower. I am not a fan of candy-coated history books. I know it might seem like it is too much for younger children to hear the truth behind the establishment of America, but I always believe that it is better to tell the whole truth. Obviously, teachers should alter the way they explain this part of American history to younger learners, but telling them Pilgrims made friends with Indians was slightly ...more
Beautiful illustrations, but "The House That Jack Built" format was too vauge for my tutoring audience of smart 2nd graders. It glossed over the facts of the pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving, and the students are well-versed in all that. They were more interested in talking about how 100 people could fit into the hull of the Mayflower. This book is better suited for younger readers who still rely heavily on pictures to tell the story.
Jen Ciampi
Oct 11, 2016 Jen Ciampi rated it really liked it
This is a sweet rhyming book that describes the experience of the first Thanksgiving. It takes the reader on a journey through each part of the first Thanksgiving from the Mayflower to the new land and the food they created together. I think this would be a good read aloud for first or second grade. The story is a good discussion point for students whereas they might not be able to read and comprehend the story on their own, having a read aloud and class discussion can help the students relate t ...more
Aaron Siclovan
Dec 06, 2014 Aaron Siclovan rated it liked it
On the first page of the book there are notes by the author and illustrations. It is important for the teacher or the parent to read these notes before presenting this book to children. The pilgrims first harvest feast took place in 1621 and probably between September 21 and November 9th. The celebration lasted three days which included feasting and games. In attendance, there were 51 pilgrims and at least ninety guests from the Wampanoag tribe. This is an unusual book because the story begins w ...more
Nov 09, 2007 Kim rated it really liked it
Greene uses a "House That Jack Built" approach to tell the story of the first Thanksgiving, working backward from the feast to the pilgrims' departure from England. The result is an absorbing narrative that prompted a lively discussion between my son and me (though one of his questions was why the sequence wasn't carried through on each repetition--in his words, "Why didn't you keep going?"). The text and illustrations are well researched, as explained in the author's and artist's notes. Yet the ...more
Ashley Field
Nov 26, 2013 Ashley Field rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
The Very First Thanksgiving is a historical fiction picture book about when settlers first arrived to America. The book talks about what the interactions with the Native American's were like and it tells of what they did to prepare for the first thanksgiving. The book and the story are comprable to what families might do today to prepare for thanksgiving. The setting is an older one although the characters and the plot seem to be more modern than the setting. The point of this is for children to ...more
Souaad Asar
Apr 02, 2012 Souaad Asar rated it it was amazing
The Very First Thanksgiving Day by Rhonda Gowler Greene. The illustration of book is very nice. Although the story starts and ends with Thanksgiving first day; the book made a great deal about that day. The rhymed of the text and realistic illustrations encourage the person who reads to take a step back. All the way back to the Pilgrims leaving their homeland and boarding the Mayflower. The result is that the day is put into historical context in a way that's reasonable even to the very young. T ...more
Angel Romero
Nov 27, 2013 Angel Romero rated it really liked it
Summary: On the first day of thanksgiving Pilgrims and Indians gathered together to bless food. Pilgrims traveled on the Mayflower to new lands. They Indians are strong and store food throughout the winter.
Reaction: This book is good to introduce the season to first graders. It teaches basic facts about this historical event in our history. This book took me back to when I was in school learning about thanksgiving. I also compared the book to how we celebrate Thanksgiving today.
Literature Term
RLL52013_Kaitlin Larson
Nov 11, 2013 RLL52013_Kaitlin Larson rated it really liked it
Shelves: rll-520
This is a historical fiction picture book story about the first Thanksgiving Day. It highlights what the first meal was like based off what was available on the land around provided, the living conditions, and the pilgrimage to the New World. It is a valuable tool for primary teachers since a majority of history in the primary grades stems from holidays. This is not an award winning story but would be useful to include in a collection of Thanksgiving stories to use as a unit. This is a book that ...more
Oct 27, 2013 Caroline rated it did not like it
I chose this for my children, liking the illustrations and subject as well as the first page words. But when I read it to them, I was really disappointed for a couple of reasons: 1. Some of the content was historically inaccurate, and the book seemed to look/portray itself as accurate. I prefer to have historical books, especially children's books, that have all their facts straight. 2. The poetry is ok, but then they repeat THE ENTIRE poem, just with new illustrations. It was quite boring for t ...more
Nov 26, 2008 Cassie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picturebooks, holiday
If you are looking for more traditional fare this holiday, check out The Very First Thanksgiving Day by Rhonda Gowler Greene. A Michigan native, Greene created a well researched story of the first Thanksgiving, expressing not only the toils faced by the pilgrims in the new world, but also the joy and thankfulness felt by them at the celebration. Yes, the story lacks a lot of detail, but it is a good, solid introduction for the very young.
Jan 06, 2016 Pia rated it liked it
I read this story to 5 years old ESL students. It was a little bit difficult for them to understand the whole concept,especially that the story goes from the First Thanksgiving back to their departure from England. I have to retell a little bit of the story using the illustrations more than the text. Probably, it would have been better if we read together other stories first and then read this one.
Michel Butler
This is a very simple book that teaches younger students about the first Thanksgiving. Its original focus is the day of the first Thanksgiving, back tracks the Pilgrims journey from Europe to America, and refocuses on that special day. This book is a great introduction into a unit on Pilgrims, and the rhyming scheme will keep students interested.
Jul 27, 2008 Lisa rated it really liked it
The illustrations are astounding, the prose is simple, and my children (and I) loved it. An excellent holiday book for briefly & engagingly covering the history of American Thanksgiving. I appreciate any book that recenters both me and my children on the real purpose of a holiday based on gratitude, but this is definitely one of my favorites.
Brian Strand
Dec 03, 2008 Brian Strand rated it liked it
Here is a book that talks about the actual first thanksgiving in a broad sense. It talks about how the pilgrims and the Indians worked together and how the pilgrims over came all their troubles. It also had some rhyming words in it that were used in a kagan lesson.
Nov 06, 2013 Kendra rated it it was ok
Shelves: thanksgiving
Gorgeous illustrations! But unfortunately I found the text difficult for me kids to relate to and follow the story line of the first thanksgiving. Not my favorite way to tell the story to my children.
Nov 12, 2013 Jen rated it it was ok
This is a telling of the very first Thanksgiving. While I really enjoyed the illustrations, I didn't think too highly of the story. I read this to my kindergarten class and while they picked up some things in the story, they weren't as engaged as I was hoping they'd be.
Laura Irrgang
Nov 09, 2012 Laura Irrgang rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
This book offers a lovely introduction to the Thanksgiving holiday that even the youngest viewers can grasp. Gaber's rich paintings convey a surprising amount of emotion . Although simplistic, the scope of the holiday is captured in just a few pages.
Nov 01, 2013 Aleece rated it really liked it
This is a good book that shows how the first Thanksgiving came to be. I really liked the realistic illustrations and the simplified way of telling children about the first Thanksgiving. I think that younger and older kids will enjoy this book.
Nov 13, 2012 Morgan rated it it was amazing
I think this book would be perfect to read to a classroom around Thanksgiving time. Many people, even adults, do not know how Thanksgiving came into being, and instead just see it as a holiday where we eat turkey. It would work well as a social studies lesson as well.
Michelle (In Libris Veritas)
It has some very pretty illustrations but the text itself, while nicely done, does repeat itself. So in that aspect it's a bit of a boring 'story'...and of course it's not really accurate, but I don't really expect a picture book to go into the reality of the situation.
Seher Patka
Nov 22, 2010 Seher Patka rated it it was amazing
Book about the First Thanksgiving between the pilgrims and Native Americans. It has beautiful illustrations and talks about the sharing and exchanges made between the two people. This book can be used in language arts as well as social studies.
Dahl Kids
Feb 20, 2010 Dahl Kids rated it it was amazing
I loved this book as a way to explain why we celebrate Thanksgiving to preschool and young elementary-age children. Beautiful illustrations.
Kate Hastings
Nov 10, 2007 Kate Hastings rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Pre-K
Shelves: thanksgiving
Based on "This is the House that Jack Built" tells the Thanksgiving story in a very simplistic manner.
Dec 15, 2014 Melissa rated it really liked it
A well-done children's books with colorful pictures and poetry that goes backward then forward, in a similar vein of The House that Jack Built.
Dearborn Public Library Youth Services
This would work best as a read aloud for K-3rd grades (possibly older). It is a little long and a bit slow in the middle. It has a nice rhythm and good illustrations.
a cute children's story about the first Thanksgiving. The book has beautiful pictures to follow along with the story. I would definitely use this in a primary classroom
Nov 22, 2011 jacky rated it really liked it
A good selection for a historical look at Thanksgiving for Preschoolers or older. It has nice illustrations and prose that sounds rhythmic when read aloud.
Mary Troyer
We read this for a social studies unit in a classroom. It doesn't glamorize Thanksgiving as a feast for one day, which is hisorically accurate.
Nov 18, 2011 Jeri rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-poetry
This cumulative rhyming book was fun to read, had great pictures, and told a great story. I would enjoy reading this one every year.
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