The book I'm sharing today is one that I enjoyed reading as a child. And, not to give away my age, but that makes this book a real classic. Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin is one I enjoy sharing with the kids every year around the holiday. But it's also great to use as part of a geography/state study. Although elementary school aged kids can probably read Cranberry Thanksgiving independently, I love reading it aloud. And even younger kids will really enjoy the story.
About the book...
Maggie and her Grandmother live on a cranberry farm. Every year Grandmother invites a friend for Thanksgiving dinner and encourages Maggie to do the same. At Thanksgiving dinner, she always serves her famous cranberry bread. But she never shares the secret recipe.
On this Thanksgiving, Maggie invites her friend Mr. Whiskers. He's a sea captain, and he isn't a favorite of Grandmother. Grandmother invites a new man in town, Mr. Horace. When Grandmother's recipe is stolen, she automatically assumes that Mr. Whiskers is the culprit. But is her judgment correct?
- Maggie's cranberry farm is located in New England. You can color in the New England states- Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont- on this printable US map.
- Learn more about the New England states with this interactive map.
- You can read more about the history of New England and the original thirteen colonies here.
- Learn all about the history of Thanksgiving on this interactive site.
- Even though cranberry bread might be a traditional Thanksgiving food now, it may not have been on the menu at the first Thanksgiving. This cute video takes a look at how the real first Thanksgiving may have looked and what foods may have been served.
- Cranberry farms are run differently than other farms. You can see how cranberries are grown here.
- Do a little cranberry chemistry with the science experiment instructions in this post.
- Do cranberries sink or float? Try putting a cranberry in a cup of water and see what happens. Then cut your cranberry in half and try it again. Have kids predict what will happen before you experiment.
- Make your own "disappearing ink" with cranberry juice using these instructions.
- With this secret recipe, you can make Grandmother's famous cranberry bread.
- Make your own silhouette pictures like the ones in the book illustrations with the instructions in this post.
- Use cranberries to make your own cranberry napkin rings for your Thanksgiving table.
- Wende and Harry Devlin have an author resource site here. There is information about them and about the Cranberry books. After the original Cranberry Thanksgiving, published in 1971, there have been many other Cranberry books featuring other holidays as well as common everyday events in the little New England town.
- Homeschool Share has a free Cranberry Thanksgiving lapbook.
- The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh
- The Story of the Pilgrims by Katharine Ross
- Time for Cranberries by Lisl H. Detlefsen
- Sharing the Bread: Am Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Story by Pat Zietlow Miller
- Fox and Rabbit's Cranberry Surprise by Laurel Heger
If you'd like to use this book as a literature unit, you can get a FREE printable guide by clicking here.