Cover image for Giving thanks
Giving thanks
London, Jonathan, 1947-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, MA : Candlewick Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 30 cm
A boy's father celebrates the interconnectedness of the natural world through his daily words of thanks and assures his son, who finds it a little embarrassing to thank trees and such, that it becomes a habit and makes one feel good.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.7 0.5 74236.
Added Author:
Format :


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A father passes on to his son the gift of seeing the beauty around him - and giving thanks. Thank you, Mother Earth. Thank you, Father Sky. Thank you for this day. How can a young boy ever show his gratitude for all the beauty he sees? He will learn from his father, who thanks the earth and the sky, the frogs and the crickets, the hawk and the deer, even the trees that wave their arms in the breeze. Majestic as the most beautiful autumn day and filled with glimpses of favorite woodland animals, GIVING THANKS is truly a gift to readers from nature-lover Jonathan London and master painter Gregory Manchess.

Author Notes

Jonathan London was born a "navy-brat" in Brooklyn, New York, and raised on Naval stations throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. He received a Masters Degree in Social Sciences but never formally studied literature or creative writing. He began to consider himself a writer about the time he graduated from college. After college he became a dancer in a modern dance company and worked at numerous low-paying jobs as a laborer or counselor. He wrote poems and short stories for adults, earning next to nothing despite being published in many literary magazines. For some 20 years before he penned his first children's book, London was writing poetry and short stories for adults. In the early 1970s, he was reading his poems in San Francisco jazz clubs, and those experiences found their way into his witty children's book Hip Cat, which has been featured on the PBS children's television show Reading Rainbow.

After writing down the tale The Owl Who Became the Moon in 1989, London began to wonder if other people might want to read it. He picked up his kids' copy of Winnie-the-Pooh and saw that the book was published by Dutton, so he casually decided to send his story to them. Surprisingly enough, they wanted to publish him. Working with different illustrators, and occasionally with co-authors, London has produced literally dozens of books. Most have appeared under his name, but some have come out under a pseudonym, which still remains a secret.He has published over forty books and has earned recognitions from organizations like the National Science Teachers Association.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

K-Gr. 2. A young boy tells of walking through the fields and woods with his father, who believes that the gifts of nature call for a response. As they hike, the father says Thank you to the frogs, the fox, the mushrooms, the quail, the sun, and the other beautiful things they see. The boy muses that it's a little embarrassing to say thanks to trees and things, but by the end of the day he finds himself saying Thank you to the stars. The admission of self-consciousness lends credibility to the boy's voice and point of view, and Manchess' illustrations are quite handsome--impressionistic oil paintings with light, shadows, and colors changing throughout the daylong walk. A book that fosters respect for the natural world through a relatively simple text and illustrations that express the beauty and dignity of nature. --Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

One brilliant autumn day, a boy and his father hike through woods and fields. " `Thank you, Mother Earth./ Thank you, Father Sky./ Thank you for this day,' " the boy begins. "This is what my father says,/ every morning,/ standing in the field/ near our house." (The text explains that "Like his Indian friends-/ .../ Dad believes that the things of nature/ are a gift.") London (When the Fireflies Come) and Manchess (To Capture the Wind) pay more attention to emotional truths than literal ones. Although the boy narrates, London does not replicate a child's voice; the brief text has the lyrical cadence of prayer. "[My father] gives thanks/ to the frogs and the crickets/ singing down by the creek-" the boy says as the pair walks by a marsh, "and to all the tiny beings/ with six or eight legs,/ weaving their tiny stories/ close to the earth." Manchess follows suit with luxuriant, full-bleed oils. Fittingly, father and son remain small and mostly peripheral figures in these sumptuously lit landscapes. With generous brushstrokes and burnished colors, the artist takes readers into the thick of natural wonders, whether it's a green and gold blur of cattails waving in the breeze, or the flurry of caf?-au-lait feathers as a covey of quails rises from a thicket. "To me, it's a little/ embarrassing/ to say thanks/ to trees and things," the boy confesses. "But Dad says it become a habit;/ it makes you feel good." Without much drama, this story may not move readers to develop that habit, nevertheless, these pictures will likely inspire them to marvel at nature's wonders. Ages 3-7. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-A simple prayer of appreciation for being alive and at one with nature. As a father and son take a hike through the countryside on a sunny fall day, the young narrator explains, "Dad believes that the things of nature are a gift. And that in return, we must give something back. We must give thanks." The man expresses his gratitude for various animals, insects, and trees, as well as for Grandfather Sun and Grandmother Moon. Though the youngster claims it feels strange to offer praise in this way, his father explains that it soon becomes a habit "that makes you feel good." As evening moves in and the two head home, the boy ventures a quiet "Thank you, stars." Large, colorful, oil-on-linen illustrations beautifully depict the various objects described in the text. Among the animals skillfully represented are a raccoon, a fox, a hawk, and a deer. Warm shades of green, brown, and gold grace the realistic paintings of an autumn landscape. Similar in tone to Chief Jake Swamp's Giving Thanks (Lee & Low, 1995), this is a gentle reminder to cherish what nature bestows so freely.-Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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