Friday, November 23, 2012

Holiday Reading: Thanksgiving!

*You lucky readers get two posts this week!*

An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott

Thanksgiving is a fantastic holiday. You gather to enjoy a delectable meal (so long as whoever cooks it is a good cook), you relax, watch football or movies, and give thanks for what you have. No worries about buying presents or having to prepare more than just the meal. It’s truly a lovely holiday. 

Well for Thanksgiving, the first book I read was An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott. Alcott, the author of Little Women, sets a quaint scene of family life in early 1800s New Hampshire. The Bassett’s are in the midst of preparing for the Thanksgiving feast that will occur the next day. The girls help their mother cook, while the boys do chores and care for the animals. Suddenly, mother gets word that her mother has become very ill and she must rush away with Papa to be by her side. This leaves the children alone at the house with the oldest child being 16 year old Eph and 14 year old Tilly in charge of all the kids. Now, unlike today’s children who would probably run rampant, these children do their chores and maintain the house. The next day, Tilly decides to continue with the Thanksgiving feast anyway because Papa is supposed to be coming home for dinner. Thus her and the girls start cooking their mother’s recipes from memory, which, of course, ends up being a bit of a culinary adventure.

This is a sweet story. It gives the reader a descriptive sense of home life during the time and introduces a loving family. The story reminded me a bit of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s stories in the Little House on the Prairie series. The way the family divvies up chores and interacts with one another is similar to Wilder’s accounts. It’s always fascinating to me to hear about how people lived when they had to make most things themselves and live a self-sustaining life. This is a very short account of that.  

The story is about fifteen pages long, so yes it is very short. Think of this as a good story to tell your children on the Eve of Thanksgiving. It’s warm and easy to get through. Some of the language is outdated, but remember this takes place in the early 1800s and was written in the 1800s, so it’s no wonder some vocabulary and syntax are old fashioned.

If you enjoy adorable things and family events, then sit down for 20 minutes and read this story. If you regret it, it was only 20 minutes!

~Kristin M.

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