Saturday, November 20, 2010

For the Smallest Pilgrim

Thanksgiving books usually make an appearance once a year, but this one could work for a child starting school or moving, getting ready for a holiday, or whenever a change is coming and a young child wants to help but hears a constant refrain: “You’re too little.”

THE LITTLEST PILGRIM by Brandi Dougherty, illustrated by Kirsten Richards, Scholastic, 2008.

The littlest pilgrim is too little to help with the village chores like stacking wood. Her big brother does that. At home, Big Sis mends and Mama bakes. Dad hunts in the forest, but he takes time to suggest that his little daughter pick berries.

After a few more distractions and reminders of just how little she is, the littlest pilgrim bends to the task of picking berries. That’s when she spots a little figure peeping at her from the woods, a young Indian girl just her size. The littlest pilgrim tries to talk to the littlest Indian, but there is a language barrier. The littlest pilgrim holds out the berries in her hands and the two girls smile. A friendship begins.

A bright young listener will get this. Smiling and making friends is something anyone can do, no matter the size or age. What better time to think about this than Thanksgiving when there is so much to do and so much of it is the territory of older siblings and adults?

Purists will have trouble with the Pilgrim dress as depicted here. However, making a friend is never out of style or out of sync with the historians. And it works for any holiday, too.

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