I mentioned yesterday how excited we were to receive Diane Shore's This Is the Feast in the mail as part of the Children's Book Blog Tour. Last year my younger children and I spent several weeks studying the events that led up to the voyage of the Mayflower and the voyage itself and the Pilgrims' first year in the New World. We did lots of hands-on activities, watched a couple of movies, and read lots of books.
A couple of the things I like the most about this combination of Shore's text and Megan Lloyd's illustrations are the attention to detail and the refrain of "Thanks be to God." The details fit well with the history we've read of this journey and subsequent year: the Pilgrims are throwing up on the Mayflower (my 7-year-old son loved this); there is "death and disease" that first year (we see a man sick in bed while the family goes on about him); the corn is multi-colored, not just your standard picture-book yellow. I love the details of the "three sisters" method of planting (corn, squash, and fish) and how Lloyd includes the squash vines climbing the corn stalks. And I love how the women scrape salt off a big block of salt into their food!
There is an emphasis in this book on the joy of survival that they Pilgrims must have felt after a year of struggle. In several places, the Pilgrims acknowledge the source of their strength: "Thanks be to God, our strength and our guide," or "Thanks be to God for the lives He has spared." This is the kind of book I want to be reading to my kids at Thanksgiving!
Below are several other bloggers taking part in the This Is the Feast Tour. I haven't had a chance to visit most of them, but Natasha at Maw Books does have a terrific interview with Diane Shore on her blog today.