Around the table that grandad built

Melanie Heuiser Hill

Book - 2019

"In a unique take on the cumulative classic "This Is the House That Jack Built," a family gathers with friends and neighbors to share a meal around a table that brims with associations: napkins sewn by Mom, glasses from Mom and Dad's wedding, silverware gifted to Dad by his grandma long ago. Not to mention the squash from the garden, the bread baked by Gran, and the pies made by the young narrator (with a little help). Serving up a diverse array of dishes and faces, this warm and welcoming story is poised to become a savored part of Thanksgiving traditions to come. A beautifully illustrated celebration of bounty and gratitude, family and friendship, perfect for the holidays and every day."--provided by publisher.

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Picture books
Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press 2019
Main Author
Melanie Heuiser Hill (author)
Other Authors
Jaime Kim (illustrator)
First edition
Physical Description
32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 26 x 28 cm
3-7 years.
Preschool--Grade 2.
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

This take on family traditions draws from the old nursery rhyme, The House That Jack Built. Here, the table that Grandad built accumulates more and more dishes, cutlery, decorations, food, and people for an unspecified family gathering (though various elements point to a Thanksgiving-esque celebration). The illustrations, done in crayons and acrylic paint, have a very fitting American folk-art style. They start with a spread of a grandfather, father, mother, and two kids carrying in a very long table (that Grandad built). The action moves between the kitchen and dining room as more and more relatives arrive, bringing additional items for the feast. There are nods to the past, as great-grandmother's cutlery is brought out, as well as nifty inclusions of intercultural connection one set of cousins presents tamales and samosas, and the conspicuous absence of meat seems to acknowledge the vegetarians among us. This cumulative tale does a great job of showing how a feast Thanksgiving or otherwise is about building family.--Connie Fletcher Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2--In this book set in cumulative rhythm similar to the popular classic "This Is the House that Jack Built," each item added to the spread is a worthy contribution to the whole. The hand-crafted table is followed by sunflowers picked by a cousin, napkins sewn by Mom, and glasses from Mom and Dad's wedding. Ultimately, the table overflows with an appealing array of edibles: the squash that took over the garden, the potatoes and peppers that were roasted, the bread baked by Gran, and Dad's huckleberry jam. There are also toasty tamales and spicy samosas included. The radiantly cheerful illustrations portray adults and children of color alongside white characters, but it is never clear who Grandad and the parents are within the group. Some of the characters are not even seated at the final meal enjoyed at the end. Still, the joyous colored pencil images of each individual family member sequentially adding to the meal should resonate with young children. The abiding joy of families feasting together, all adding to the worthwhile whole, is largely what makes this book so appealing. VERDICT Despite a few subtle oversights, a welcome addition to a Thanksgiving unit and a useful addition to the topic of sequencing for young children.--Etta Anton, Yeshiva of Central Queens, NY

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

A multiracial family gathers for a big meal and gives thanks.Hill's text initially reads as a cumulative poem, opening with reference to the eponymous "table that Grandad built." Three adults and two children, perhaps a mother and father, two daughters, and Grandad (all of whom appear white with light skin), carry the table. A ginger-haired child who appears on every spread narrates. A joyful, nave quality defines the acrylic, crayon, and digital art, and on later spreads, cousins bring sunflowers to decorate the table, and adults who appear to be the speaker's parents, grandmother, aunts, and uncles all help set it. Some present as people of color, with dark skin and hair, and later cues from food and clothing may suggest South Asian and/or Latinx heritage. A textual shift occurs at the midpoint of the book when foods are introduced, and the text abandons its "House That Jack Built" pattern. Instead, foods are listed one after another, though still in the same rhythm: "This is the stack of toasty tamales. / These are the samosas, spicy and hot." The family gives thanks, but there's nothing to suggest that the gathering is definitively linked to an American Thanksgiving holiday, though a line referring to "the rice pudding we have every year" indicates an annual event.A warm and welcoming table. (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.