Perfect Picture Book Friday: Thanksgiving at the Tappletons’

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, I wanted to offer up an oldie but a goodie that was originally published in 1982 and has been revised and re-released this year. You go, Eileen Spinelli and Maryann Cocca-Leffler! Plus, Maryann, who is the illustrator for this book, will be our featured Will Write for Cookies guest in tomorrow’s post.


Thanksgiving at the Tappletons’

Written by Eileen Spinelli

Illustrated by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Publisher: HarperCollins (1982, 2015)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Thankfulness, Thanksgiving, family togetherness


Opening Lines:

“Thanksgiving at the Tappletons’ was always a big day. Thanksgiving at the Tappletons’ meant, of course, the Tappleton family.”



 From Amazon:

“Thanksgiving is always a big day at the Tappletons’. But this Thanksgiving each task is interrupted by calamity and hilarity: first the turkey slips away . . . then the bakery is sold out . . . and so on, until Uncle Fritz and Grandfather Tappleton despair of ever eating dinner at all!

It’s not until Grandmother Tappleton reminds everyone, “there is more to Thanksgiving than a turkey and trimmings,” that the Tappletons begin to improvise . . . and end up enjoying a most unusual holiday “feast.”

Delicious drawings add to the merriment of this warm, contemporary tale, whose mirth and message youngsters will savor.”


Why I like this book:

  • Great read-aloud…with so much humor. Kids will be laughing and so will parents.
  • Each character shows so much personality…I feel there could be spin-off books about each of them.
  • A heartfelt message that is timely and timeless.

How a parent can use this book:

  • Wonderful read aloud.
  • Great book to encourage discussion of the importance of family.
  • Springboard for talking about what we are thankful for.



Gratitude Jar


Photo courtesy:

You will need: A jar, paper, pen and/or markers, glue, scissors.

For detailed directions for this and other wonderful crafts, please visit:


And for more wonderful picture book reviews, please hop over to to Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

Make sure you come back here tomorrow! I spent an hour chatting with our Will Write for Cookies’ guest last weekend at a book signing for her newest release, A Homemade Together Christmas. I’ll be reviewing that for Perfect Picture Book Friday in a couple of weeks.

Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Will Write for Cookies


Wishing you all a beautiful weekend. Remember, the holidays are about love, peace, and friendship. Reach out to those who need your smile.

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (Pomegranate Press, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY WE MOVE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my 9-year old grandson.

Posted on November 20, 2015, in Craft Activity for Kids, Eileen Spinelli, Maryann Cocca-Leffler, Perfect Picture Book Friday, Picture Book Review, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. I love Eileen Spinelli’s children’s books, Vivian. I met her at a Highlights Conference in 2002, and he was wonderful.
    Be glad you weren’t here in Colorado this week. Monument had 19″ of snow on Wednesday, and I-70 was closed from Castle Rock north for hours because of two jack-knifed 18-wheelers. But it is still Colorado, and today it was sunny and bright again, and the snow is melting. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know…I saw the photos of the snow…hope you are able to stay safe. We’ll be getting our fair share of that white stuff, I’m sure, Marylin.
      Attending a Highlights Conference is on my bucket list…how cool that you connected with Eileen Spinelli there.

      I wish you and yours a beautiful holiday also.


  2. This book sounds great, Vivian! I love Eileen Spinelli, and how perfect that the book was illustrated by your guest for tomorrow! (I hope she has a great cookie recipe :)) The book I reviewed for today also centered on family…although in a bit of a different way! I love the Gratitude Jar – what a great idea!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Susanna…and I love the hilarious book about a family Thanksgiving that you reviewed today! And just wait till you see Maryann’s yummy holiday recipe…I’m planning on making it for Christmas when my son and his family fly in from Chicago…so excited about that. 😉
      I’m glad you liked the Gratitude Jar…it’s really something we should all have…in mine there would be a folded paper with YOUR name. 😉


  3. This one of my favorite titles. (I am a big fan of Eileen Spinelli!) My original copy fell apart, so when I tried to replace it, I found the illustrations have been redone to be an animal family. I am sure to be more diverse. I still purchased it, because the message is wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What good luck, Katmaz…the edition I reviewed is the 3rd iteration…and the characters are back to being people…I urge you to get a copy…it is awesome! Thanks so much for stopping by…and so happy you love the message in the book! I’m a fan of Eileen Spinelli’s also. 🙂


  4. I love it when older picture books still hold up for today’s kids!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a great choice for Thanksgiving! I have not read about the Tappeltons yet but I am going to get this book and read it with my three granddaughters next week.I know they will love it! I think we will do the Gratitude Jar too. Thanks Vivian, for once again giving us your thoughtful recommendations. I will also look forward to tomorrow’s interview.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was hoping for some great Thanksgiving recommendations. Thanks. I love your gratitude jar. It’s much prettier than ours!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am happy to see this revision of this wonderful book. Read it to my daughter when she was young. I love Eileen Spinelli’s children’s books! Great share and activities.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve heard of this one, but never read it. I love books that handle challenges with humor. Nice recommendation 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have a large basket of picture books I put out especially for Christmas. I have been searching for great thanksgiving books for our upcoming holiday. This one sounds like a treasure. I’m going to try and find a copy straight away. Thanksgiving is almost here!

    I can well relate to holidays that don’t go as planned. I had a Christmas Calamity not that many years ago that began when my car slid off the road into a ditch. It was downhill from there. I would describe it much like the picture book, ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Vivian!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh dear, oh dear…but perhaps that incident will be the nugget for a picture book one day, Leslie. I’m so glad you are okay now…and I’m thrilled this book will hopefully join your holiday basket. 😉


  10. Vivian, Thanks for sharing this perfect PB for the holiday. I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. We used a similar jar when the kids were younger–but thinking about it, there’s no reason not to do it still. Perhaps more important in today’s world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know, Wendy…I quite agree with you…even after the kids are older…and perhaps even after they are on their own, wouldn’t it be great to have a family jar of gratitude…to share when everyone gets together. 😉


  12. Readaloudability is my focus of late – must read!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Leave it to the grandmother to get them on the right track! I love hearing an oldie is getting reprinted–great news!
    This weekend I was visiting my son, recently moved from CO to Rh Island…when I read that you also relocated from Colorado to New England. A lovely part of the world! Enjoy Vivian!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup…those grandmas sure know what they are talking about.;) 😉 😉
      I am enjoying New England…especially because our daughter and grandson live so close. 😉 Thanks for stopping by, Lindsey…hope your holidays are shiny and bright.:)


  14. Somehow, I have missed coming across this book before but it looks like one I definitely want to add to our Thanksgiving library! Thanks so much for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday!

    Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: Maryann Cocca-Leffler – Will Write for Cookies | Picture Books Help Kids Soar

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