Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving by Kimberly and James Dean
Rating: 5 stars
Just look at the cover. Pete's a pilgrim. A tall black hat sits atop his usual cool face, and a stiff white collar is tucked under his chin. The image makes me crack a smile, even right now at 5:36, early in the morning before my children wake up.
Pete is nervous about being in his class's Thanksgiving play. He shows and tells, with the help of his classmates, why we celebrate Thanksgiving. It's actually a really good explanation for small kids! The lift-the-flaps addition is a nice touch to keep kids more interested in finding out the story behind the holiday.
First, Pete and his feline friends sit in a boat and wait a looooong time to arrive at the New World; after sixty-five days, they spot land. They build houses, but the first winter is long and hard. "In the Spring, they had to decide whether to give up and go back to England or keep trying."
Enter the Native Americans, who help them "keep trying." They show the Pilgrims how to plant food native to the area. By fall, the Pilgrims have plenty of food, and they want to have a feast to share with their Native American friends to celebrate that friendship.
The last two pages of the book show Pete and his family at their Thanksgiving table, with thought bubbles leading up to what they each are thankful for. His mom is thankful for her family, Bob is thankful for his skateboard, Pete is thankful for the Pilgrims who came to the New World.
The book ends with a question prompting your child to dip into that important place of gratitude: "What are you thankful for?"