HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Thanks to the Animals
Author: Allen Sockabasin
Illustrator: Rebekah Raye
Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers, second edition published in 2014
Related website: http://www.tilburyhouse.com (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 6-11
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Sockabasin, Allen. Thanks to the Animals (originally published in 2005; second edition published in 2014 by Tilbury House Publishers, 12 Starr St., Thomaston, ME 04861). If you are a parent, have you ever accidentally left a child behind when traveling? It is around 1900, and following the coming of the first snows, Joo Tum is taking his family on the long journey from their summer home by the seashore to their winter home in the deep inland woods. However, while he leads the horse and the rest of the family sleeps on the sled, the baby, little Zoo Sap, stands up and tumbles off. All different kinds of animals, alerted by his crying, come to help keep the wee one warm—beavers, moose, caribou, deer, fox, wolf, raccoons, porcupines, rabbits, weasels, mink, muskrat, otter, squirrels, mice, owl, raven, crow, jay, duck, goose, seagull, and finally the eagle. Will Zoo Sap survive? And will Joo Tum ever find him?
Author Allen Sockabasin, a Passamaquoddy storyteller, is an artist and musician who devotes much of his time to teaching and preserving his native language. This expression of appreciation for the natural world is beautifully illustrated with colorful paintings by Rebekah Raye. The tenth anniversary second edition includes several new features, such as an Author’s Note explaining the seasonal migration of the Passamaquoddy people who occupied lands between Maine and New Brunswick, a pronunciation guide to the Passamaquoddy names of all the animals in the story, and a QR code that will let readers link to the audio recording of Sockabasin telling the tale in the Passamaquoddy language. Thanks to the Animals has been named one of the Top Ten Native American Books for Elementary Schools by American Indians in Children’s Literature and would make a great bedtime story.