A family flees its native country in a small boat and lands in America on a particularly appropriate holiday; PW called this "a Thanksgiving story that knows no season or race, but is for everyone all year 'round." Ages 3-8.
Grade 1-4 A brown-skinned mother hides her son and daughter under the bed when soldiers come to their home in the night. Afterwards, the father declares that they must flee immediately, taking with them only the things they can carry. Their journey is difficult, and they encounter many obstacles before they finally sight land and are towed ashore by a boat. They have landed in America, it is Thanksgiving Day, and this band of refugees is safe and free at last. Bunting's simple tale focuses on the hardships of the journey and on the American ideals of freedom and safety. She wisely leaves aside the issues of politics in the homeland or in this country. Her prose is poetically spare, as her runaways move ``silently along the secret streets.'' Peck's richly colored crayon drawings yield added enjoyment each time they are perused. The mood changes from dark shades of desperation during the journey to the lighter tones of joy as the travelers at last find their refuge. Other titles on this subject that are equally valuable are Barbara Cohen's Molly's Pilgrim (1983) and Gooseberries to Oranges (1982, both Lothrop). A poignant story and a thought-provoking discussion starter. Ruth Semrau, Lovejoy School, McKinney, Tex.
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