My very favorite is Brinton Turkle's illustrated copy from 1974. I mean that name alone, Brinton Turkle, is just so much fun to say. It's a song in and of itself: Brinton Turkle, Brinton Turkle, Brinton Turkle, Brinton Turkle. Okay, maybe I've been hanging out with my kids too long. But they (the kids) love this version; so much so, that we had to buy it. So we have our very own copy of the nineteenth century, New England family's journey "through the white and drifted snow" to read as often as we please. And we do read it often! The kids' favorite verse is:
Over the river, and through the wood --
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes,
And bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.In Turkle's version, it's "to grandfather's house we go." He also includes all twelve verses, making the journey palpable, escalating our anticipation to that beloved last line: "Hurrah for the pumpkin-pie!" There's also music included on the last page, if you'd like to play Child's song for yourself.
I also enjoyed Christopher Manson's beautifully illustrated woodcuts. Manson takes us on a journey "with a clear blue winter sky" from the perspective of a young boy witnessing the activities of other little boys (sailing on ice, gathering firewood, sledding, ice skating, playing hockey, giving sugar to a horse, fishing, logging, etc.) while on the way to his "grandmother's house." I think Manson's viewpoint best reflects Lydia Maria Child's intention since she first entitled the poem "The Boy's Thanksgiving." Now, I know I've whetted your appetite to find a version and read up to "the pumpkin-pie!"
I took the following information about Child's poem turned song from Over the River and Through the Wood: A Thanksgiving Poem by Lydia Maria Child illustrated with woodcuts by Christopher Manson. New York: North-South Books, 1993.
The song we know today as 'Over the River and Through the Wood'
is adapted from a poem by Lydia Maria Child. The poem was first
published in her popular three-volume anthology for boys and girls,
Flowers for Children (1844-1846). During the nineteenth century
it was reprinted many times under various titles. Child's poem
became the unofficial anthem of Thanksgiving after her friend
John Greenleaf Whittier included it in Child Life (1871),
his immensely popular collection of nineteenth-century children's
verse. The original poem was twelve verse long, but it has often
been shortened to six. This book uses the verses that appeared
in the Whittier anthology under the title 'Thanksgiving Day'.