Turkey Day Resister: Thanksgiving for Emily Ann by Teresa Johnston
EMILY ANN HATED TO SAY
SHE WAS NOT THANKFUL FOR THANKSGIVING DAY!
Most grownups like Thanksgiving. For some it's their favorite holiday. It's a day off from work; there are no gifts to select and wrap; the decorations are mostly edible; and it's a day when it's considered polite to overeat. What's not to like?
But for little kids, it may not be so enticing.
Emily Ann is one of those. Her grandpa gets to snore in her comfy bed, while she gets a sleeping bag on the floor. Her mom's attention is focused on preparing food, and the house is too full of loud, gabbing people who aren't usually there. To Emily Ann, it all feels like an invasion.
SO EMILY ANN, FEELING QUITE ALONE AND SAD,
CHOOSES NOT BE THANKFUL
AND INSTEAD TO BE BAD.
But with all the hubbub it's hard to find something noticeably bad to do.
So Emily Ann decides to GO BIG. On the kitchen table crowded with everyone's special dishes, she see something really BIG.
SHE DUCKED BY THE TABLE TO PLAY A FUNNY TRICK.
SHE REACHED FOR THE TURKEY, TO HIDE IT REALLY QUICK!
But Mom is not as oblivious to her daughter's dilemma as Emily Ann thinks. Instantly spotting a turkey-napping in progress, Mom slyly co-opts the little prankster.
"HI, EMILY ANN. WHAT A BIG HELPER! YOU'RE SO GREAT!"
Emily has no choice but to lug the turkey dutifully into the dining room to put it on the table, and when she gets there, she notices that her mom has set the table with the Thanksgiving placemats she made in school, "the best in her grade." Suddenly, she sees Thanksgiving in a different light. She looks at all the food everyone has contributed, all her relatives smiling at her contribution and getting ready to sit down together.
BY THE TIME SHE SAT DOWN ON THANKSGIVING DAY,
"I'M THANKFUL FOR MY FAMILY" WAS ALL SHE COULD SAY.
Teresa Johnston's Thanksgiving for Emily Ann (CarolRhoda Books, 2014), may slip in a too-easy transformation for this little conscientious objector, but it does offer a bit of a contrarian child's-eye view of Thanksgiving gatherings. It can be intimidating for youngsters to have a crowd of noisy adults, rowdy cousins, or strange guests taking over their space, and at least here Emily Ann gets to make her statement and her mother gets to model the ideal of making even the youngest feel part of the big day. Vanessa Brentley-Newton adds reassuringly humorous cartoon illustrations of various family types to add to the holiday atmosphere. For another salty look at Turkey Day, pair this one with Mark Fearing's brand-new The Great Thanksgiving Escape (Candlewick Press, 2014).