179. A Pioneer Thanksgiving

A Pioneer Thanksgiving: A Story of Harvest Celebrations in 1841 by Barbara Greenwood, illustrated by Heather Collins
Pioneer Story series, book 2

Pages: 47
Ages: 7+
Finished: Oct. 8, 2009
First Published: 1999
Genre: historical fiction
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Sarah sat in the little bedroom off the kitchen, reading to Granny.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series and it was the week before Thanksgiving.

Summary: Follows the Robertson family as they gather together the ingredients for their meal from the wild and prepare the meal and Sarah realizes all she has to be thankful for.

Comments: While only a fraction of the size of the first book, A Pioneer Story, this book keeps to the same format with chapters of the story followed by non-fiction sections that carry factual information plus crafts and recipes. Again the crafts are simple to make though will require a gathering of 'not just laying around the house' supplies. The book again is illustrated with Heather Collins lovely sepia and dark brown pencil drawings which draw attention to the time period of the story.

The story is very much Canadian with the whole story focusing on the harvesting and remembrances of the Old Countries' (Europe) harvest customs. The book finally ends with a brief but very enlightening explanation of how our Thanksgiving is in Oct. and the US's is in November and why our Thanksgiving doesn't involve a single Pilgrim. Did you know Canada didn't even officially call the holiday 'Thanksgiving Day' until 1957?!

I also am pleased with how the secular publisher dealt with the Christian aspect of the Pioneer's lives and role it would have played in their Thanksgiving. Rather than ignoring it as is often the case with history books aimed at the secular public, it is briefly, factually woven into the story. Sarah reads to her sickly Grandmother from the Bible and at the end of the book when the family sits down to eat Pa says grace. Then there is a brief non-fiction page explaining grace, giving some examples of different ones the pioneers may have said, even one in German that the Robertson's German neighbours may have used.

A wonderful book for Canadian children to learn the true meaning and history of Thanksgiving in Canada.


  1. This book does sound quite wonderful! Thanks for sharing about it.


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