From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3-After burning the Thanksgiving dinner, an elderly couple goes down the street to a restaurant. They wander in through the open door of the New World Caf, but the proprietor's family thinks that having customers will ruin their private party. Grandmother chastises them and so the "guests" are given the seats of honor. Soon, Ed and Ann join Papa, Grandmother, and the others in sharing their songs, dancing, and holiday warmth. As the family bids their new friends good evening, Papa wonders at the raw potato jammed under the door. Grandmother says, "In old country Thanksgiving door is like happy heart, opened up big and wide. Potato good for that." Atwell's luminous folk-art illustrations expand the story through details such as Russian onion domes in a picture on the wall, fur hats on the men, scarves on the women, and the cover illustration of Grandmother jamming that potato under the door. A particularly nice feature of this story is its focus on the elderly couple. A fine addition to holiday collections and for those looking for immigrant stories.Bina Williams, Bridgeport Public Library, CT
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 1-3. An elderly couple, Ann and Ed, go to the New World Cafe on Thanksgiving Day because Ann has burned dinner. The door is open, and the tables are decorated--not only with Pilgrims and Indians but also with tiny, bearded, probably Russian dancing figurines. The cafe owners, apparently immigrants, wonder why their door was open and who has crashed their party, but Grandmother is welcoming, and dinner is fun for all. After Ann and Ed leave, Papa tries to close the door, but finds a potato propping it open: "In old country," Grandmother reminds him, "Thanksgiving door is like happy heart, opened up big and wide. Potato good for that." With adults as main characters, the audience for this may be hard to find, and as Thanksgiving is an American celebration, it's not clear what Grandmother means when she talks of "the old country" holiday. The pictures, however--bright, cheerful, and brimming with folk-art patterns--will help draw attention to a story that does reflect a message of the holiday. GraceAnne DeCandidoCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved