Hello, readers! Now we're getting into the books telling about the Pilgrims journey from England to the New World, their grueling winter, the Wampnoag tribe's critical help during the planting season, and the celebration of the very first Thanksgiving feast. Over the course of the next few days, I'm going to acquaint you with a handful of my top picks (after examining many choices) that introduce this story. In each book, I learned something new about the Pilgrims' journey which became the exciting part of this process. Of course, each story-teller and illustrator communicates their version of Thanksgiving story differently, so hopefully you'll find one version that's best suited for each of your children.
Today, we're going to take a look at illustrator Leonard Weisgard (1916-2000). Weisgard won the Caldecott Medal in 1947 for his illustrations of The Little Island, and you can read more about him in this short biography. Weisgard wrote and illustrated The Plymouth Thanksgiving (copyright in 1967), striving to attended to detail and accuracy by using William Bradford's diary and by spending extensive time and research at Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Weisgard is best known for his illustrations, and this is no exception (I've included two different cover illustrations). The kids especially liked being able to see the detail of the Mayflower interior. Personally, I was gripped by the listing of all the passengers on the Mayflower, which made the story come alive for me (and made the fact that only half survived all the more startling).