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Check It Out

November 16, 2001

With the first of the year-end holidays just a week away, it's time

for seasonal reflection and celebration.

To get in the mood, check out "Minnie and Moo and the Thanksgiving

Tree," the latest in the series the Bulletin of the Center for Children's

Books called "the cream of the beginning-reader crop." In a hilarious

romp through the food chain, Denys Cazet brings back the beloved bovines

of "Minnie and Moo and the Musk of Zorro" and "Minnie and Moo Go to

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Paris."

This installment finds Moo musing about gratitude on Thanksgiving

morning: "We have so much to be thankful for, and yet I feel a sadness in

the air." When turkeys Zeke and Zack emerge and beg to be hidden in an

oak tree, the seed for the first-ever Thanksgiving tree is planted.

In a less frivolous vein, Robert Merrill Bartlett explains the origins

of the holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in "The

Story of Thanksgiving." Reissued this year with luminous drawings by

Sally Wern Comport, the narrative puts the holiday in the context of a

long tradition of harvest festivals before describing the pilgrims'

landing.

Also recently added to library shelves is "Squanto's Journey," Joseph

Bruchac's story about the Patuxet Indian who helped the first New England

colony survive. Geared for children from age 4 through 8, the

fictionalized account reflects the view of a Native American who saved

the pilgrims even as he was losing his family and tribe.

Young readers might follow that up with Kate Waters' "Samuel Eaton's

Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy," a photo-essay told in the first

person in the vernacular of the 1620s. After learning about a 7-year-old

pilgrim boy's first experience at helping with the rye harvest and

persevering despite blisters on his hands, they may come away with

newfound thankfulness for their lives.

When it's time to focus on preparing the holiday repast, cooks will

find recipes for what Bon Appetit editors call "the most important meal

of the year" in "Bon Appetit Holidays." There are three possible

preparations for a turkey, as well as advice on carving and variations on

the turkey theme in this lavishly illustrated volume.

Once all have had their fill, fire up the VCR for "What's Cooking," an

affectionate look at four families (one Hispanic, one Vietnamese, one

African American, one Jewish), all preparing Thanksgiving dinner.

Mercedes Ruehl, Alfre Woodard, Joan Chen, Julianna Margulies, Kyra

Sedgewick and Dennis Haysbert star in this sympathetic portrait of family

conflict and togetherness that underscores the power of connecting with

what really matters this Thanksgiving.

* CHECK IT OUT is written by the staff of the Newport Beach Public

Library. This week's column is by Melissa Adams, in collaboration with

June Pilsitz. All titles may be reserved from home or office computers by

accessing the catalog at o7 http://www.newportbeachlibrary.org.

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