By Dottie Dewberry For the WPT
MABEN — Oct. 26 started out a gloomy day but inside the Maben Public Library the noise level was rocking with laughing, talking, and giggling coming from the kids and parents who gathered for the annual Halloween costume party at Story Hour.
There were kids in Spider-Man and Spider-Woman suits, a mermaid, two MSU cheerleaders, an Ironman, a Ninja, a pink dinosaur and a great big MOUSE named Ms. Mary. Ms. Mary held the tiny costumed cuties’ attention by reading about Clifford the Big Red Dog, who saves the day in the book “Picking Apples and Pumpkins.”
The schoolchildren were going on a field trip to the farm, where the kids were going on a hayride. The farmer’s tractor would not run so they hooked Clifford up to the wagon and away they went.
When they got to the apple orchard, the kids climbed on Clifford’s back and picked the apples.
Back at the barn, the kids went to the crafts table to make a hand turkey out of the outline of their hand, even Clifford got to make a paw turkey. Soon afterwards, all the kids clambered back on the bus and off they went back to school.
After the story, it was P-A-R-T-Y T-I-M-E. Out came the orange paper plates, Cheetos, pumpkin cookies, snickerdoodles, moon pies, Kool-Aid drinks, and sacks and sacks of candy brought by the parents and library workers.
In and amidst the party, hands were traced, volunteer labor cut out the shapes and the kids colored their turkeys just like they wanted.
Soon the decibel level was even higher as the kids were getting a sugar kick from cookies, candy and sugar drinks.
After a while the library was quiet as they checked out their books at the front desk, got their one more piece of gum, and blasted out the door with mommas running behind carrying loads of stuff.
‘The First Thanksgiving’ Halloween has come and gone and Thanksgiving is fast approaching, so Ms. Mary changed gears and began getting the kids in the Thanksgiving mode on Nov. 2. First she asked them to be thinking of what they are thankful for so they could share it the next week.
Then the children gathered around Ms. Mary’s feet and she read and discussed “The First Thanksgiving.”
This book is a Scholastic Reader, which is full of facts and pictures about the first thanksgiving. Ms. Mary told the kids about the pilgrims coming to America on the Mayflower.
She explained that they came for religious tolerance, which means that they could worship as they saw fit. They pilgrims finally saw land on Dec. 21, 1620, after two months at sea.
The new world was big and scary: many trees, no homes, no other people and little food, At first they build a common house for all the people for that first horrible winter; only 50 pilgrims survived that winter. One of the most helpful Native Americans was Squanto, who taught the Pilgrims how to plant corn, beans, squash, and pumpkins. They learned to fish, to dig for clams and how to catch eels.
Eventually, the chief of the Pokanoket Wampanoag tribe came and asked why the Pilgrims had come to their land. Soon William Bradford and Chief Massasoit made a treaty to work together. The next year, they hunted for animals to eat and built more homes during the summer. That fall in October of 1621, they all had a big three-day feast with their new friends.
In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared the fourth Thursday to be Thanksgiving Day.
The children then discussed what they liked to eat at Thanksgiving: turkey, corn, potatoes, bread, cakes, pies and other good food.
After the story, Ms. Mary and Ms. Dottie handed out dot markers, paper plates and glue, and cutouts of turkey body parts. With the help of mommas and grandmothers, the children assembled turkey shapes on the plates and then proceeded to color in feathers.
The best fun is the Play-Doh and scissors. This actually is a good skill: they learn how to manipulate the scissors. All the while they listened to American songs: “This Old Man,” “Camp Town Races,” “Turkey in the Straw” and many others.
Last but not least they all checked out books, got their stick of gum and out the door they went, hollering “bye.”