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Over the River and Through the Wood
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Over the River and Through the Wood

3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  409 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
A new illustrated version of this classic song, complete with full lyrics and musical notation. A family glides over the snow and through the countryside in a horse drawn sleigh, to visit their grandparents' house for Christmas.
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published October 28th 1989 by Little Brown & Company (first published 1844)
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While I love and will always love Lydia Maria Child's evocative poem, I rather despise this particular edition, simply because David Catrow's illustrations are absolutely not to my taste. I find them visually annoying, frenetic, grating, and while they might, indeed, be considered a modern spoof, a modern take, they do not at all mesh with the text, with the peaceful country imagery that is the narrative. The delicate and sweet cadence of Child's poem, the sense of family togetherness and antici ...more
I LOVE this poem, never get tired of it. To me, it captures the spirit of my Thanksgivings as a child--even if we went to Grandma's house in a car instead of a sleigh! ;-) The woodblock illustrations by Christopher Manson enhance the ambiance of the poem and lend a cozy, historic New England feel.
Over the River and Through the Wood, illustrated by Matt Tavares.

I enjoyed this version of the dear Thanksgiving poem by Lydia Maria Child and illustrated by Matt Tavares. This version retains Child's original wording so it may be a bit different that the one that is familiar to many of us. I was very glad to read "the original" though I admit it was a bit jarring at times when the words on the page didn't match those flowing through my memory. A brief biographical note about Child is also welc
Don't read the Catrow version if you don't have a sense of humor ... In this version, the family is heading for Grandmother's house but Baby has quite the adventure getting there...the illustrations tell a much wilder (unsafe) version of the "story"/song than the lyrics.
Over the River and Through the Wood: The New England Boy's Song about Thanksgiving Day by Lydia Maria Francis Child, illustrated by Matt Tavares beautifully illustrates the classic verse of a trip by sleigh to grandmother's house.

The original text is typset in Hadfield. The large font makes it easy to read aloud. The note about the author gives excellent details.

The detailed illustrations are done in watercolor, gouache and pencil.
The double page spreads really carry this verse along. Taveres u
Hmm... my mind is split on where to start sharing my thoughts. When I was a child it was the Chipmunks' Christmas Album version of this song I sang again and again. In some of our poetry books (I think it was Gyo Fujikawa) I noticed this poem text. I never knew it was a Thanksgiving journey and NOT Christmas! Through the book list for Memoria Press ( I think it is 3rd grade, maybe 2nd) the older picture book version from NorthSouth illustrated by Christopher Manson in wood cuts was discovered to ...more
A humorously illustrated version of a beloved poem. I'm a big fan of David Catrow and his use of colors. Unfortunately, our library copy had been enforced in such a way that the pages did not open all the way, and often there was no way to see what was in the center of the picture spreads, diminishing our enjoyment of them somewhat.
Oct 12, 2015 Dolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a lovely and spirited song about Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday. We have a CD recording of this song and our girls know the song by heart. The lovely woodcut illustrations by Christopher Manson are just old-fashioned enough and rustic enough to perfectly complement the words. We really enjoyed reading this book together.
Nov 05, 2015 Beverly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I guess I must have a wacky sense of humor, because I love this book and have my own personal copy (with the David Catrow illustrations). I like the disconnect between the lyrics of the song about a nice holiday ride and the baby's wild adventures and think they are hilarious. And I like Catrow's over-exaggerated caricatures of the people, animals, and objects.
Nov 02, 2015 Sam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Illustrations by David Catrow: I still enjoy the original poem, but these pictures just weren't my thing.
Given to me by a dear friend. It is a Thanksgiving poem. I sang it and Holland kept looking at me. I do wonder what she was thinking. Love the vintage looking illustrations! I don't think I had ever read or heard the entire poem. It is darling and a new Thanksgiving tradition. The music for the traditional song is on the back page.
Carmen Nibali
“Over the river and through the woods” is a classic seasonal poem. This is one of my favorite poems and still remember it word for word. In this book the pages are illustrated with a horse pulling a sleigh with the family all bundled up. The family is off to their grandfather’s house for a thanksgiving feast. On each page there is a lot of fresh details. This book is intended for ages two and up. This classic is intended for children for every age. There's two different illustration of this book ...more
Dec 01, 2015 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My five year old daughter, Penelope, LOVES this book and we have checked it out from the library the last few years at the holidays. It’s a good Thanksgiving and Christmas book. Penelope and I love to sing the book as I remember singing this song in music class long ago when I was a child. I didn’t know then that it was originally a poem written by Lydia Marie Child in the 19th century. Penelope loves the beautiful illustrations by Matt Tavares, including a story behind the story when a hat is l ...more
Nicely done verison of the 1844 poem. Two page spread illustrations alternate between the family on their journey to the grandparents house and the grandparents making the Thanksgiving dinner.
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
I picked this up thinking it was a Christmas story but it turns out to be a Thanksgiving song. Very cute verses and old school illustrations add charm.
Cindy Mitchell
Child, L. Maria Over the River and Through the Woods, illustrated by Matt Tavares. PICTURE BOOK. Candlewick, 2013. $9. Content: G.

This classic song was originally written as a poem for Thanksgiving in 1844. Tavares’ illustrations bring out the winterwonderland for each verse – several more verses than any modern child actually knows exist. It seems like it would be a great song for any holiday gathering and a cute book a read aloud with a n actual trip to Grandma’s.

EL (K-3) – ADVISABLE. Cindy,
Growing up, I have fond memories of traveling to my grandparents' house in Manti, Utah, and of singing "Over the River and Through the Woods" with my family as we neared the old house at Thanksgiving time. When I found this book at our local library, I couldn't wait to share the old song with my children, especially since the words have become a bit foggy all these years later. I had no idea the original poem had so many verses! Originally published in 1844 in one of her poetry books as "A New-E ...more
I do like the pictures in this one. Very lovely and just adds to the song that I loved singing when I was younger. Somehow as a child I never got that this was a Thanksgiving song. We didn't sing all the verses, so that could be a reason. And the fact that we always sang it at that time of year just didn't register. (Nor did hearing it on the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving movie every year.) Oh well.

This one is good for toddler, considering the breaks in the text.

11/9/10 Went well with toddler. Th
Nov 27, 2015 Marya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: holiday-books
I was surprised and delighted to find that my library carried this item. Not only is it the original THANKSGIVING version, it is the original text in the original order! The illustrations convey the time period of the poem but are still "modern" in the sense that your average kid can identify and "read" the emotions and situations depicted. I'm still not convinced I should purchase it yet....
Rosa Cline
Dec 04, 2015 Rosa Cline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids, winter, thanksgiving
Just like the song this is a storybook word for word of the song. And in the back is the 'true' story behind how the song came to be. Like myself and my husband we always thought this was a Christmas song but it's actually a Thanksgiving song... it was neat reading this. The illustrations were beautifully done as well.
Sep 16, 2015 Judyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delightful holiday book perfect for any elementary age child or younger. I was only familiar with 2 of the many stanzas of the familiar poem/song. The illustrations add much to the poem and are reminiscent of Currier and Ives. The last page gives a quick write up on the author of the poem and I found it quite interesting.
Jane G Meyer
Mar 02, 2011 Jane G Meyer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
Such a fun Thanksgiving Day book for children. This edition (Harper Collins 1993), with illustrations by Nadine Bernard Westcott, has just the right feel and flavor. While the family is driving to grandfather's house, the grandparents are busy preparing the Thanksgiving meal in their home. There are little peeks of humor on every page, and all the trimmings, from the snow and the ice skating, to the pumpkin pie and the turkey are there to remind a child of all the pleasures that surround that ti ...more
t's nice and interesting to look at (and is an awesome size 6x7).

Own board book with illustrations by Christopher Manson (1993). Also own midi picture book illustrated by Matt Tavares (2013).

Over the River and Through the Wood A Thanksgiving Poem by Lydia Maria Francis Child Over the River and Through the Wood The New England Boy's Song About Thanksgiving Day by Lydia Maria Francis Child
Nov 01, 2015 Darlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thanksgiving
Loved the Illustrations and the familiar song about thanksgiving. Brings back memories for me although I never rode to grandmas in a sleigh the similarities of home, family, and home for the holidays is there
Jan 03, 2010 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
David Catrow takes a Thanksgiving classic for a wild ride! The long and stressful holiday road trip to a distant relative's home, with the car stuffed full of siblings, pets, and food, is a universal experience. In this whimsical picture book, the baby of the family escapes into a joyful, snowy Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, where characters, floats and balloons take on a life of their own.

The lively and imaginative scenes keep the pace of rhythm of the text, and Catrow's cool midseason tones
I love this version of the classic Thanksgiving song & book! I can't get enough of David Catrow's wacky illustrations, which make this such a humorous tale!
Amy Winkelman
Nov 01, 2014 Amy Winkelman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorite Thanksgiving books that I STILL read to my kids. My kids and I love the pictures and it gets us in the mood for turkey!!
Oct 27, 2015 Alice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful artwork to bring home the classic story/song we all know! Matt Tavaras artwork is right on!! Can't wait for it to snow!!!
Dec 01, 2014 Corey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Love the illustrations, love sharing this classic song at Thanksgiving time with my students.
Oct 28, 2015 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful illustrations to this classic song. A great family gift for the holiday season.
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Lydia Maria Child (1802--1880) was an activist and writer of novels, pamphlets, and works for children. She often used her writing to advocate for slaves, women, and Native Americans. Lydia Maria Child was born in Medford, Massachusetts, where her grandfather’s house, which she celebrates in her poem, still stands.
More about Lydia Maria Francis Child...

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