Go For It! The Great Thanksgiving Escape by Mark Fearing
IT WAS ANOTHER THANKSGIVING AT GRANDMA'S.
Gavin drops off their casserole in the kitchen and is ushered by his mom to his assigned station--the combination coat room and kiddies' room, a bedroom mostly populated by crawling and toddling babies with suspiciously sagging diapers and drooly pacifiers. Luckily, Gavin's audacious cousin Rhonda is already there, looking woeful. She grabs Gavin's hand with an appealing idea:
"WHAT DO YOU SAY WE BREAK OUT OF HERE AND HEAD FOR THE SWING SET IN THE BACKYARD?
THE WAY I SEE IT, GAVIN," SHE SAYS, "SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO MAKE YOUR OWN FUN!"
But there are obstacles. First, they have to escape without a toddler on their tails. Gavin and Rhoda adopt protective cover (somebody's overcoats), and trying to blend in with the natives, crawl stealthily for the door.
But once outside, the conspirators find that there is a maze of hazards to navigate. First there is the dreaded "Hall of Aunts!" Rhonda remembers having to ice her face after the marathon of cheek pinching there last year. Then they discover that the front door is guarded by several scary guard dogs, all pretending to be fat and lazy pets snoozing on the rug. Deciding to let sleeping dogs lie, they head for the back door, only to find more gabbing, snacking, guffawing relatives blocking the way.
OH, NO! THE GREAT WALL OF BUTTS!
Avoiding the den where there is a squad of uncles yelling "Hit 'im!" at the football game on TV, Gavin and Rhonda decide it's better to try to sneak out the through the basement rec room. But seated on the floor down there are a group of teen-aged, vacant-eyed, slack-jawed creatures, all staring, mesmerized, and poking mechanically at a variety of electronic screens.
"ZOMBIES! THEY'LL EAT OUR BRAINS!" WHISPERS RHONDA DRAMATICALLY.
It's not easy being a young 'tweener who just wants a place to play at the family Thanksgiving. There's no place to have their kind of fun except outside, where now it's... raining!
"THE WAY I SEE IT, RHONDA," GAVIN DARES HER,
"SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO MAKE YOUR OWN FUN!"
Mark Fearing' The Great Thanksgiving Escape (Candlewick Press, 2014) pokes good-natured fun at the perils of the family holiday assemblage from the viewpoint of the elementary-aged guests in a story that strikes a chord with kids and with adults who remember trying to escape with their cousins and have some FUN at the feast. Fearing's cartoon characters are spoofy but recognizable family types, shown mostly from a kid's eye view as the two young escape artists make a break for it. "Fearing's first solo picture book, based on his memories of Thanksgivings past, is a hoot for all ages," says Kirkus Reviews.