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The Great Thanksgiving Escape

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  475 ratings  ·  88 reviews
A hilarious, kid-friendly take on Thanksgiving — full of family, food, and lots of fun!

It’s another Thanksgiving at Grandma’s. Gavin expects a long day of boredom and being pestered by distantly related toddlers, but his cousin Rhonda has a different idea: make a break for it — out of the kids’ room to the swing set in the backyard! Gavin isn’t so sure, especially when
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 9th 2014 by Candlewick Press
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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  475 ratings  ·  88 reviews

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This was hilarious. I love the Hall of Aunts and the Wall of Butts. Two kids try and make a fun game during a family gathering at Thanksgiving. I love the basement zombies. All the kids playing video games look like Zombies. We see the kids under the huge pile of coats on the bed. I mean this hits so many things about a big gathering.

Yesterday, my nephew had a meltdown and was throwing a fit. I pulled him on my lap and started to read this book and he got quiet and started to get into the story
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Can Gavin and his cousin Rhoda escape the other bratty kids, and make it to the swing set in the backyard? They'll have to outrun "ferocious" dogs, teenage "zombies" and a horde of kissy aunts to make it to the backdoor. A hilarious holiday adventure!

Sep 08, 2014 rated it liked it
I liked this book--LOVED the "Hall of Aunts". I wish the "Hall of Butts" had been called something else.
Viviane Elbee
The kids really enjoyed this tale where two kids decide to "escape" the traditional Thanksgiving day preparations and have their own kind of fun. The illustrations add a great deal to the humor.
Sep 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book
Thanksgiving would be great, if it wasn't for all of the family stuff that goes with it. At least, that's what I used to think as a young child, and finally there's a Thanksgiving book that would have suited me at the age of the main character.
Gavin is left by his parents to play with much younger relatives, and is rescued by his cousin Rhonda. They navigate a series of relative-filled dangerous adventures, while making their own fun.
Delightful stuff, with great illustrations, but may be too
Sep 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: juvenile, read-aloud
Alternate title could be "How to Survive A Family Gathering". This one made me LOL! Perfect for those kids that don't quite fit in with the older kids but aren't babies anymore. They have a hard time finding their place in these settings. Best thing to do is "make your own fun" and they do. It was fun for us too.
Oct 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a great storytime read!
Oct 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Funny. Love children's books and collect them
- get this from my mom who was a school librarian. Great perspective of Thanksgiving from a child's point of view.
Nov 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pb
Really fun and relatable.
Adults and older kids will get a kick out of this!
Nov 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
If you're looking for something a bit sillier for Thanksgiving, this is a good choice. I love Thanksgiving books that focus on togetherness and thankfulness, something I feel gets glossed over too often these days. However, not every book has to take that approach. We need all kinds of books on any given topic and this one shares a unique perspective on Thanksgiving, or any other family gathering for that matter, by showing the more chaotic side of having lots of different people under the same ...more
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love the illustrations in this book. Its a fun holiday study.
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: storytime3-5
Luisa Knight
Oct 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
A sarcastic tale about two kids making their escape from their relatives.

Ages: 4 - 8

Cleanliness: two kids are not looking forward to Thanksgiving with their relatives and try to escape the house to the backyard. Some grumpy attitudes. Mentions the "great wall of butts" and "zombies eating brains."
Jun 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Gavin knows his Thanksgiving Day will be boring until his cousin Rhonda plans an escape that will lead them to the swings in the back yard. After successfully passing such obstacles as the “Hall of Aunts” and the teenage “Zombies”, they are finally free only to find that it is raining outside!

This is the author’s first picture book that he has both written and illustrated. It has a cleverly executed concept and will be a good addition to any holiday story time for school age kids. The large
Nov 02, 2014 rated it liked it
How much fun will Gavin have on Thanksgiving at his Grandma's house? More fun that he expected at any rate, in large part due to his cousin, Rhonda. These two sneaky kids team up. The mission: escape the house and actually have some FUN. But it won't be easy. There are obstacles on the path to freedom. And one of those obstacles is "the GREAT WALL OF BUTTS!" There are also zombies to avoid. (Who are the zombies? The teenagers in the basement that are playing video games or on their ...more
Erik This Kid Reviews Books
Nov 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a hilarious book, and a great take on the traditional Thanksgiving story. Mr. Fearing has written an amazing book here! I love how Rhonda, using her imagination, crafts a super-thrilling, slightly dangerous (“vicious” wiener guard dogs!) adventure, and takes Gavin along with her! The illustrations are amazing! I like how there are tiny little details through out it. My favorite part has to be the “The Great Wall of Butts” the kids have to navigate around. It’s a good thing to remember ...more
Rosa Cline
This was a fun 'from a different point of view' Thanksgiving book. Dinner at Grandma's won't be viewed again the same. This story is from the view point of two children not quite the 'babies' but not quite the 'big kids' either. They are put in a room 'to play' until it's turkey time. But They want to go and make their own fun. Again told from their view point and their 'view' (if your an adult get down on your hands and feet and take a look around; you too will see a 'hall of butts' and ...more
Cousins Gavin and Rhonda are stuck at Thanksgiving with their relatives and decide to break out of the kiddie room and make for the swing set out back. At every turn of their perilous mission, however, they face danger - whether it's vicious weiner dogs or the hall of aunts! A suspenseful and thrilling holiday tale which will have kiddos giggling sympathetically. A rather untraditional Thanksgiving tale, but one which is entirely relatable if you're a kid or ever were a kid trapped in an adult ...more
Mikayla Baker
Feb 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was so cute. The whole family is gathering together for another Thanksgiving feast. Gavin gets put in the room with the little kids. His cousin Rhonda wants to go on an adventure to the swing set. They try to go out the front door, but the dogs were in the way. Next, they come up to the "Hall of Aunts," then they passed the "Hall of Butts." Do they make it out to the swing set to make there own fun?
I loved the illustrations of this book. The expressions on the faces reflected what was
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Humorous illustrations and hilarious scenes of a large family gathering--in a small house--make this Thanksgiving story successful. Two of the children try to get away from dribbling babies, doting aunts, too-cool teens, and TV football watchers. When they eventually arrive at the back door, they encounter a downpour of rain. While exaggerated, and not very appreciative of the real reason for Thanksgiving, the tale will ring at least partly true with many readers. Appropriate for middle grades.
I remember some of the best times during the holidays at relatives’ homes were spent with my cousins, playing in the other room. But you didn’t want to be trapped with the babies, and you were too little to play with the older kids. A swing set in the backyard was perfect. This fun picture book would be awesome to share with youngsters that spend holiday times visiting relatives. The humorous, colorful illustrations show the many obstacles between the boring grownups and the freedom of the ...more
Oct 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
It's another Thanksgiving at Grandma's. Gavin expects a long day of boredom and being pestered by distantly related toddlers, but his cousin Rhonda has a different idea: make a break for it - out of the kids' room to the swing set in the backyard! Gavin isn't so sure, especially when they encounter vicious guard dogs (in homemade sweaters), a hallway full of overly affectionate aunts, and worse yet, the great wall of butts! Will they manage to avoid the obstacles and find some fun before turkey ...more
Oct 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Haha! This Thanksgiving book has nothing to do with giving thanks, turkeys, or pilgrims. It's about avoiding family - drooling babies, zombie teenage cousins, cheek-pinching, smooching aunts. Gavin's cousin, Rhonda, encourages him to join her in a great escape to the swing set in the backyard. Kids will laugh at their antics as they try to make their way through the house full of relatives to the safety of the backyard.
Karen Johnson
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What fun. First--this book has great drawings. But the story the drawings tell - ha! That's what makes it great. It's told from the kids' perspective of Thanksgiving. It's all about food and escaping the attention of adults.

Spoiler alert - laugh out loud parts for me were "It's the hall of aunts," and there is a "wall of butts." As I read it I totally recognized my own family in it.

The best part is that stuffy Gavin learns to make his own fun.
Nov 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Gabby and Jasper have had me reading this one over and over all month. It is quite funny and they've even been acting it out themselves, which is absolutely entertaining and adorable. "Oh no! They are going to pinch our cheeks," they yell while diving from room to room. I'd say the mark of a truly great children's story is if it inspires creative and imaginative play, so The Great Thanksgiving Escape deserves a spot among our most favorite children's books.
Sara Bland
Apr 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
A very comical, wonderfully illustrated, picture book to share with children of many ages. Probably most appropriate for 2nd-3rd grade. This is a hilarious story of two cousins who face many obstacles on their journey to go outside and play during Thanksgiving dinner. Each page is full of fabulous pictures and big words to really emphasize the fun. Definitely one for the holidays! Don't miss out on this mischievous, fun little story!
Aug 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Can we please stop it with the kiss smothering aunts? The wall of butts, however... is hilarious. And to be a total debbie downer... probably not the best idea to encourage kids to be outside on a giant piece of metal during a storm.

It has some flaws, but it's nice to have a Thanksgiving book that can kind of be enjoyed year round.
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who remembers ever feeling bored and uncomfortable at a large adult or family gathering will identify with this clever story of two cousins who decide to make their own fun at the family Thanksgiving.
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic little Thanksgiving story that kids will love. I laughed out loud and the illustrations are fabulous.
Kim Nelson
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cute book of 2 cousins trying to escape the house at Thanksgiving and having fun.
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Mark Fearing is the author-illustrator of the graphic novel Earthling! and has illustrated several award-winning picture books. The inspiration for The Great Thanksgiving Escape, the first picture book he has both written and illustrated, were memories of the unexpected, unplanned events at family gatherings-"the fun that was discovered, not mandated." Mark Fearing lives in Oregon.