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The Peterkins' Thanksgiving Hardcover – September 27, 2005
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From School Library Journal
Grade 2-4–Spurr and Halperin team up again to present this companion to The Peterkins' Christmas (S & S, 2004), both adapted from Lucretia Hale's 19th-century classic, The Peterkin Papers. Here, the silly characters almost miss their Thanksgiving feast. Dressed in their Sunday best, they sit down at the table–upstairs of course–and Mrs. Peterkin rings her china bell, signaling Amanda the cook to send dinner up. Sadly, the meal was substantially delayed, due to an odd circumstance. The food, it seems, is stuck in the dumbwaiter. Agamemnon, who is relied upon for answers because he had been to college, has a solution. The family must eat downstairs–in the kitchen. Happily, they're not too proud to do so, but, unfortunately, the dumbwaiter still won't budge. After some amusing discussion, they decide they must call a carpenter but, of course, he can't come until later because he is at his relatives' house. All's well in the end, however, and this odd family does get to enjoy a satisfying Thanksgiving repast. This is a fine, entertaining tale, framed with phrases from correspondence written to their friend, the Dear Lady from Philadelphia. The lighthearted watercolor illustrations have a Victorian flavor that fits nicely with the period-piece mood of the book. Gently amusing, this is a pleasing addition to any holiday collection.–Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA
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Gr. 2-4. Those acquainted with the Peterkins, the Victorian equivalent of James Marshall's Stupids family, won't be surprised that this follow-up to The Peterkins' Christmas (2004)--Spurr's first picture book, culled from serialized stories by nineteenth-century writer Lucretia P. Hale--is no less brimming with foolishness. In a Thanksgiving story parlayed from a tale about a generic Peterkins family dinner, the turkey feast gets stuck halfway up the dumbwaiter. Operating as usual on flawed logic ("How can we have tea . . . when we have not yet had dinner?"), the Peterkins endure a hungry evening. Some children may find aspects of the story confusing, both because the narrative awkwardly intersperses excerpts from a letter to the wise "Lady from Philadelphia," and because Spurr refers to the latter character (a Peterkins fixture) without providing any backstory. Still, Halperin's expressive, delicate watercolors telegraph much of the humor that might otherwise miss the mark. For maximum impact, though, this holiday offering will depend on a knowledgeable adult who can put the Peterkins into their historical and literary context. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved