Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Story

Thanksgiving
Wyndham
1963

We have another Thanksgiving holiday book from the olden days. This book is more the familiar story those of us of a certain age remember as the “true” story of Thanksgiving. Of course it reads a bit more sweetly and glosses over some of the rougher experiences of the Pilgrims. Not to mention under playing the role of the local natives in keeping the colonists alive that first winter.

smashed potatoes

Thanksgiving Fiction for the Kids

Smashed Potatoes
and other Thanksgiving Disasters
Murphy
1994

Someone had to remind me that this week is Thanksgiving week. It is one of my favorite holidays since it really requires nothing but some turkey and the Detroit Lions failing to win a football game. Usually we post fiction on a Friday, but since I have a Thanksgiving title, we will be featuring this one before the holiday.

This one is for the middle elementary set. The family is preparing for the holiday when Mom is called away to help a relative who is ill. Mom sets a reservation at a local place since she won’t be there to cook. (Evidently, Dad is too incompetent to cook as well.) Megan decides this isn’t how they should do Thanksgiving dinner and cancels the reservation. She is going to step up and cook. Of course, nothing goes to plan and Megan realizes her dinner is fast becoming a disaster. However, she eventually realizes that Thanksgiving is really about family togetherness.

Meeting the challenge cover

Children with Diabetes

Meeting the Challenge: Children Living with Diabetes
Bergman
1992

Submitter: This book’s purpose is to show a normal kid living a normal life while managing diabetes, which is great, but managing diabetes looks a little different now than it did 30 years ago. This kid is still peeing on ketone strips to measure his blood sugar, which is pretty irrelevant in today’s world of nearly ubiquitous CGM (continual glucose monitoring—a sensor is attached to the body and provides real-time blood sugar readings via an app). Most kids today would also be using a pump rather than syringes, which are the only insulin delivery tool in the book, with the exception of one insulin pen.

The other odd thing about this book is the extended section devoted to a summer camp for kids with diabetes that the protagonist attends. The point is likely to show the kids doing all the kinds of things their friends can do, but it feels a little random and oddly specific to this one kid. Especially the counselor in face paint for some kind of activity, included in the pictures.

Holly: When a kid receives a diagnosis like diabetes and is learning to live with it, both they and their parents need current and helpful information. This offers neither of those things. Nice idea; past its prime.

Nicotine and Caffeine cover

Nicotine and Caffeine

Focus on Nicotine and Caffeine
Perry
1990

Submitter: It’s a little jarring to see nicotine and caffeine lumped together. Maybe nicotine has decreased in “everyday drug” status since 1990 or maybe I just don’t take caffeine seriously enough, but it seems like an odd pairing. And the “current” stats (from 1989) on smoking are obviously a little of out date by now—down from 29% to about 14% in 2019, per the CDC. The sentence “Like little smokestacks, smokers send out poisonous gasses into the world around them and deep into the world inside them” is pretty great though.

Holly: I think you’re right – smoking is just not as commonplace as it was when this book was published. Caffeine use, however, is still very prevalent. And I agree – we don’t generally lump those two drugs together. Maybe also because there’s no age-related law on purchasing caffeinated foods and beverages. Kids can buy a chocolate candy bar and a Coke; they can’t buy cigarettes.

fun with science cover

Science Fun!

Fun With Science
Easy Experiments for Young People
Freeman and Freeman
1956

This little gem from the 1950s is CLEARLY past its “sell by” date. The cover was in bad shape and there was some yellowing. This came from a university collection, not a public library. (There was one public library that had this book listed in its collection.) The Freemans wrote many youth science nonfiction books up into the 1970s.

This book was first published in 1943 and was last printed in 2000. The Freemans passed away in the 1980s. I couldn’t find much biographical information about the Freemans with my cursory searches. Given the longevity of their books, as well has the number of titles, their materials should be archived and maintained for study.

evel knieval cover

Motorcycle Daredevil

Evel Knievel
Motorcycle Daredevil
Schmitz
1978

If you are of a certain age, you will immediately recognize the name Evel Knievel. I was a teen during 1970s when Evel was doing his thing. He was always in the news taking his bike and jumping over stuff. Even if you knew nothing about stunt work, motorcycles or anything “daredevil”, everyone knew about Evel Knievel.

Even as a teen I wondered about a few things. Why was his name Evel? I really couldn’t grasp why someone would choose such a name. More importantly, I wondered why someone would take a motorcycle and jump over stuff. Evel was good at self-promotion and worked hard to keep his name in the news. Each jump was more elaborate then the last.

daddy doesn't live here any more cover

Daddy Moved Out

Daddy doesn’t live here any more
A book about divorce
Boegehold
1985

In this “story”, Mommy and Daddy are fighting all the time. Mom copes by vacuuming. Daddy moves out. Our young protagonist, Casey, fakes an illness to make Dad move back. It doesn’t work. Mommy and Daddy stay friends for the most part and Casey learns to deal.

Supermarket cover

Supermarket Sweep

Supermarket
Baugh
1965/1970

Submitter: While I give this cute book props for having a diverse cast of kids, the book is rather old, and the spine is gone. Time to find something new.

Holly: It’s definitely old! 19 cents a pound for whatever it is those kids are looking at (3rd picture below)? Are those coconuts??