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4.6 out of 5 stars
The First Thanksgiving (Step-Into-Reading, Step 3)
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41 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2000
Format: School & Library Binding
This is a good, easy-to-read description of the Pilgrim's journey to America, their hard winter, and the first "Thanksgiving" celebration. However, I think it whitewashes history a little too much. It virtually ignores the tension that existed between the Pilgrims and Indians. There needs to be a happy median struck between telling the truly wonderful aspects of that first Thanksgiving -- how the two peoples were able to come together, if only for a short time, to share the celebration -- while acknowledging there were difficulties in the relationship between Pilgrims amd Indians. This isn't being "politically correct" -- it's just acknowledging the truth to our children that relationships between those two groups of peoples were not usually easy. Life is complex, even for young children -- they will understand and appreciate being told the full story.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2000
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This history of the Pilgrims is very complete, given the reading level of the book. It is written for second to third grade students. The story covers the reasons for leaving England, the journey across the Atlantic, the first horrible winter, the meeting of Samoset and Squanto, the help given by the Indians and the Harvest Feast itself. The artwork is nicely done and adds to the content. Second grade students may find new vocabulary and challenging words to read, while third grade students should find the reading easy. A good asset for the teaching of American history to early elementary students.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
I browsed and browsed before finding a book I felt was proper to read to my two young children about Thanksgiving; this one was it.
I'm not keen on politically correct mush, and this book is not politically correct mush. While it is somewhat vague regarding the hardships of the Pilgrims and their relations with the American Indians, I don't fault it for that; books for young children (mine are 4 and 5) needn't go into such detail as the distrust between the settlers and the Indians, etc. -- that's for later learning.
Overall, this is a great book and I already have recommended it to many people!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
ISBN 0679802185 - As the final Thanksgiving book on the shelf this year, The First Thanksgiving was one I was really curious to compare to The Plymouth Thanksgiving,. The similarities are almost as interesting as the details the two books differ on.

A group of people, not allowed to follow their own religious beliefs because they are different from the king's, plan a voyage to America, where they hope they will be able to worship as they choose. They know they will face dangers, and they do, but they survive a harsh winter and, with the help of an Indian named Squanto, they learn more about how to thrive in this new land. When the fall harvest comes, and is plentiful, the pilgrims have a feast and invite the Indians to join them.

Like Weisgard, author Linda Hayward calls the settlers "pilgrims", even though they themselves didn't use that name. While Weisgard's book mentions that some "pilgrims" relocated to Holland before returning to England and going on to America from there, Hayward has them going directly to America. Hayward, unlike Weisgard, admits that the pilgrims knew something about the land and the dangers they might face there. Hayward's version details some of the hardships onboard the Mayflower, while overlooking all the troubles the ship had in finding a suitable place to land. Hayward writes that the first Indians the pilgrims meet ran away, while Weisgard has them exchanging fire; Weisgard notes, accurately but vaguely, that the pilgrims took (stole) things they found, while Hayward just says they "found" wonderful things. Hayward acknowledges the tension between the pilgrims and the Indians, but Weisgard writes as if they were friendly at all times. Both books disregard the historically curious fact that, if they were certain that they were simply coming to dinner, Massasoit and his braves would surely have brought women and children. Neither book is historically accurate, but few books are, on this topic, and both reflect what our children are taught in school. If that bothers you, rather than bypass these books, I'd suggest reading both - and others - and using them to open a conversation, or even pursue a little research with your child.

As in Weisgard's book, Indians are Indians (although Hayward refers to Massasoit as an "Indian king", which is silly) - a note for those concerned with political correctness. For the religious and non-religious alike, although religion is mentioned and "a prayer of thanks" is said, no mention of any particular god is made. The book ends by mentioning Lincoln's proclamation that made Thanksgiving a national holiday, another nice opening for further research. James Watling's illustrations are a little pastel for me, at times, but they compliment the text nicely. This book is a Step 3, Reading On Your Own, book in the Step Into Reading set, for grades 1-3, a good fit because the story is exciting enough to keep them interested through new words.

- AnnaLovesBooks
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Combining illustrations both realistic and appealing with straightforward historical text, this book takes young readers back in time to THE FIRST THANKSGIVING where Mayflower departed from Plymouth in 1620 England to set sail and begin their new life in the new land - America. The writing is clear, crisp and easy for children to follow and there is a wealth of information to be absorbed - about the pilgrims' long journey across the Atlantic, their encounters with American Indians and their first Thanksgiivng together which becomes the tradition and later was made a national holiday by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. For non-fiction beginning readers to get a quick understanding of the first Thanksgiving, this book offers the perfect amount of context for reading.
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on December 8, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Exactly what I was looking for and I am a history major. I was searching for a version that my child can understand without delving too deep into the politics of the era. When he is older we will be discussing the nuances of that period in American history in much greater detail but for now this little book is great.
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on January 20, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I bought this book to read to my three and six year old boys at thanksgiving. It was very informational. Maybe a little too much for my youngsters to soak in, but we'll read it every thanksgiving until it does.
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on November 23, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
We got this for our 6 year old son who is very interested in a more non fictional recount of events versus the fluffy versions. We all learned a lot from this little book, and he's read it many times.
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on December 15, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Pages started falling out as soon as students opened them. The students were being careful however the glue was not holding the pages well.
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on January 2, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I got this book at a good price and it was in great condition.
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