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The Great Thanksgiving Escape Hardcover – September 9, 2014
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From School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—The perils of a family get-together are drolly told from a child's point of view. While waiting for "turkey time," Gavin's parents tell him to play with the rest of the kids. Surrounded by drooling, stinky babies, he and his co-conspirator, cousin Rhonda, decide to make a break for it and head to the swing set in the backyard. They stealthily plot their escape and crawl along the floor under the cover of winter coats. Obstacles are faced at every turn, including smooches and snuggles from the "HALL OF AUNTS!" Playing with perspective, Fearing's digitally created cartoons show long lines of pantyhosed legs and an aerial shot of outstretched manicured hands reaching for a hug. Funny play-by-play running commentary describes the action as it unfolds. After a dark basement encounter with teenage video game-playing "ZOMBIES," the two young cousins finally make it to the back door. With wide, toothy grins, they gleefully play outside (despite a sudden downpour), exemplifying their credo, "sometimes you have to make your own fun." Expect requests for second helpings of this holiday treat.—Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada
Fearing finds laughs in the uncomfortable truth that for a lot of people — children included — family holiday gatherings are the opposite of fun.
—New York Times Online
Playing with perspective, Fearing’s digitally created cartoons show long lines of pantyhosed legs and an aerial shot of outstretched manicured hands reaching for a hug. Funny play-by-play running commentary describes the action as it unfolds. ... Expect requests for second helpings of this holiday treat.
—School Library Journal
Graphic novelist and illustrator Fearing’s first solo picture book, based on his memories of Thanksgivings past, is a hoot for all ages. Kids will identify, and parents will reminisce. The digitally manipulated colored-pencil illustrations from a kid’s-eye view layer the humor on an exaggeratedly goofy text. A holiday offering that definitely makes a fun all its own.
Fearing revels in his portraits of cinematically exaggerated horrors like the "Hall of Aunts!" ("We’ll be pinched and smothered for sure!" cries Rhonda) and a basement full of teenage "zombies" staring at their digital devices. Rhonda’s advice to Gavin—"Sometimes you have to make your own fun"—will serve readers well on Thanksgiving Day or any time of year.
Bold, digitally touched pencil illustrations follow the characters through the gauntlet of holiday terrors, from pinching, snuggling aunts to the (allegedly) booby-trapped but so- wonderful-smelling food in the kitchen. Filled with humorous dialogue and with surefire read-aloud appeal, this will easily find an appreciative audience—especially among those who are, like the characters, too old to play with the little kids and too young to play with the big kids.
With their odd angles and unusual perspectives, the digital and pencil caricature illustrations ... capture the claustrophobia—and, for imaginative kids, the diverting possibilities—of a large family gathering.
A wonderful kid's-eye view of Thanksgiving. ... Fearing's work has an appealing edginess that resonates with kids, and he's a careful observer of telling detail, which adds to the enjoyment.
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