Thanksgiving Visits: Fun or Cause to Flee?

BookendsGreat Thanksgiving EscapeCindy: Crowded holiday gatherings are often boring for children. They are filled with relatives they don’t know well, long waits for food, isolation at the kids’ card table, time-consuming clean up, lots of adults talking, and endless football watching. The Great Thanksgiving Escape by Mark Fearing (2014) begins with young Gavin, clad in vest and tie, who is jailed in the kids’ room with the babies and the piles of coats. He is told to stay there until dinner and to “have fun!” Rescue comes in the form of cousin Rhonda, who pops out of the coat pile and says, “the way I see it . . . sometimes you have to make your own fun!” They decide to escape to the swing set in the back yard, but that is a treacherous journey and means passing the hall of cheek-pinching aunts, the blockade wall of butts—don’t you dare get between them and the football on TV—and the teenage zombies in the basement. There are other obstacles too, and the fun is in the journey and in Fearing’s expressive illustrations.

Sometimes you have to make your own fun!

When your own children are bored this Thanksgiving, you can download The Great Thanksgiving Escape activity kit from Candlewick Press. Me, I’ll be having another piece of pumpkin pie or a leftover turkey sandwich. I love everything about the Thanksgiving holiday and won’t be shopping on Thursday or Friday. I have too many good books to curl up and read, and I am thankful for every single one!

The Relative CameLynn: This holiday weekend, my house is going to look like Cynthia Rylant’s joyous-family-visit book, The Relatives Came (1985). This picture book celebrates the chaos and fun that comes from extended family members descending on a small household that then feels empty when they pack up and go home. But as precious as that family time is, sometimes you need to find a little quiet!

Here at Bookends, we are wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving, be it quiet or noisy. We are especially thankful for all our readers, our wonderful Booklist editors, and for all the generous publishers who send us the mountains of terrific books we get to read and share. Happy Turkey Day!

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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