Reviews for Thank You, Sarah! : The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving


Booklist Monthly Selections - #2 December 2002
K-Gr. 3. Sarah Hale was a magazine editor, mother, teacher, and feminist (though not a suffragette). She also "saved" Thanksgiving by imploring President Lincoln to declare it a national holiday. Appalled that Thanksgiving, a holiday that could bring people together, was being ignored by many Americans, she had appealed to several previous presidents--Taylor, Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan--but only Lincoln responded. In 1863, Sarah saw Lincoln declare Thanksgiving a national holiday. Anderson gives an inherently interesting story an extra boost with a terse, amusing text ("never underestimate dainty little ladies"), but it is Faulkner's art, reminiscent of David Small's work in So You Want to Be President (2000), that stands out. The pictures are droll and funny, often going beyond the bounds of the text to make an ironic point. The back matter is particularly solid for a picture book; there's additional information about Hale and about Thanksgiving as well as a brief overview of the Civil War and of slavery. There will be many uses for this. ((Reviewed December 15, 2002)) Copyright 2003 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2003 Spring
Exploring the origin and evolution of Thanksgiving, this book introduces readers to Sarah Hale, the woman who persuaded Lincoln to declare it a national holiday (and an ancestor of the author). Faulkner's lighthearted ink, watercolor, and gouache illustrations, rich in humor and pop culture, successfully combine with the conversational narrative. A lengthy historical note is included. Bib. Copyright 2003 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 2002 October #1
The impish Faulkner (The Monster Who Ate My Peas, 2001, etc.) illustrates this rousing account of Sarah Hale's campaign to make Thanksgiving a national holiday with crowds of caricatured celebrants in buckskins, football equipment, and every style of dress in between. ("Thanksgiving Canceled-No Football Today.") Anderson (Catalyst, p. 1300, etc.), in a really silly mood, tells the tale with wide open theatricality: trumpeting, "WE ALMOST LOST . . . THANKSGIVING!" across a spread of dismayed diners and relieved looking turkeys, she introduces "a dainty little lady" as the holiday's champion. An unlikely hero? "Never underestimate dainty little ladies," the author warns, launching into a portrait of a 19th-century supermom-novelist, educator, magazine editor, widowed mother of five, eloquent supporter of many social causes and, yes, author of "Mary Had a Little Lamb"-who took on four Presidents in succession before finding one, Lincoln, who agreed with her that Thanksgiving, which had been largely a northeastern holiday, should be celebrated nationwide. "When folks started to ignore Thanksgiving, well, that just curdled her gravy." Dishing up a closing "Feast of Facts" about the day and the woman, Anderson offers readers both an indomitable role model and a memorable, often hilarious glimpse into the historical development of this country's common culture. Thank you, Anderson and Faulkner. (bibliography of sources) (Picture book/biography. 6-9) Copyright Kirkus 2002 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2002 September #4
This tale of a little-known historical heroine touts the power of the pen and persistence. With an irreverent tone ("You think you know everything about Thanksgiving, don't you?") and caricatures that play up past Americans' laissez-faire attitude, Anderson (Speak) and Faulkner (The Amazing Voyage of Jackie Grace) chart the progress of Sarah Hale, whose relentless letters and 38 years of petitioning presidents, secured Thanksgiving's status as a national holiday. A hilarious spread of presidents Taylor and Filmore passing the buck to Pierce (Lincoln finally makes the day official in 1863) typifies the balance of humor and history in this snappy volume. An afterword offers additional delectable facts (e.g., FDR tried moving up the holiday in 1939 and '40 to extend the holiday shopping season; Hale also wrote "Mary Had a Little Lamb"). Ages 5-10. (Oct.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2002 December
Gr 1-4-Anderson turns a little-known historical tidbit into a fresh, funny, and inspirational alternative to the standard Thanksgiving stories. Alarmed that the observance was dying out since many states did not observe it at all and those that did had no agreement as to date, Sarah Hale began 38 years of letter writing in support of making it a national holiday. Ignored or refused by administration after administration, she persisted until at last, President Lincoln, possibly persuaded by her argument that it would help to reunite the union, declared the fourth Thursday in November as a national holiday in 1863. The writing sparkles and is well matched by the spirited and irreverent caricatures (including Native people and pilgrims with feathers in their headbands and hats). Lively and provocative sentences involve readers. Anderson doesn't state the facts; she reveals them, unveils them, and celebrates them, and her text certainly shows that persistence and eloquence can succeed. Faulkner takes every opportunity to provide visual humor. He draws Sarah and other ladies storming the doors of the state house with a giant quill pen as a battering ram. His busts of recalcitrant presidents and his graphic depiction of the "other things" President Buchanan had "on his mind" convey complex historical concepts while adding to the humorous tone of the book. A "Feast of Facts" gives more information on Thanksgiving, Hale, and the year 1863, and ends with the exhortation: "Pick up your pen. Change the world."-Louise L. Sherman, formerly at Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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