HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Thanksgiving Treasure
Author: Gail Rock
Illustrator: Charles C. Gehm
Publisher: Scholastic Inc., republished 2000
ISBN-13: 9780440491170 Hardcover
ISBN-10: 0440491177 Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-0439193177 Paperback
ISBN-10: 0439193176 Paperback
Language level: 3
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 10-13
Rating: **** 4 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Category: Historical fiction
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Rock, Gail. The Thanksgiving Treasure (Published in 1974 by Borzoi Books, an imprint of Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, a division of Alfred A. Knopf Inc., New York City, NY). It is 1947, and eleven-year-old Adelaide (Addie) Mills lives with her father James and her grandmother Mills in Clear River, Nebraska. Addie’s mother had died more than ten years before, just after Addie was born, and Grandma had come to live with them then. Addie and her best friend, Carla Mae Carter, make their annual bike ride into the country to pick cattails, milkweed pods, thistles, and gold leaves for their autumn bouquets, and find themselves near crochety Old Man Rehnquist’s farm. Mr. Rehnquist and Addie’s father became archenemies years ago during a feud over a pond that her dad dug for the farmer.
At school, Addie and Carla are taught that Thanksgiving is a time for fellowship, so Addie has a great idea. She’ll invite Mr. Rehnquist to Thanksgiving dinner! How does the grumpy old man respond? Can Addie’s dad and his nemesis end their ancient feud? Or will this Thanksgiving be the start of a new war between the neighbors? This would be a five-star story about friendship, forgiveness, and the real meaning of Thanksgiving, but I was greatly disappointed at the bad language. Addie’s father uses both the “d” and “h” words several times—his own mother has to chide him for it, and even Addie herself says the “d” word when yelling at her incorrigible little cousin Henry.
To me, this is unconscionable in literature intended for young people. I still give it four stars because of the positive aspects but would suggest it only as a family read-aloud with judicious editing. The Thanksgiving Treasure is the second book in the “Addie Mills Stories” series. It and its predecessor, The House Without a Christmas Tree (Christmastime, 1946), were first introduced as CBS-TV specials. There are two sequels, books and I assume television productions, A Dream for Addie (Easter, 1948) and Addie and the King of Hearts (Valentine’s Day, 1949). In the four books Addie goes from age 10 to age 13.