Book Review: Thanksgiving at the Inn

Thanksgivingby Tim Whitney

Bancroft Press, 2009

My Rating: A+

In helping children to develop a love of reading my experience shows that linking books with special events aids the process. It’s why reading and cuddling at bedtime is so effective. And what would Christmas be without Charles Dickens? If we have special books for Christmas, why not one for Thanksgiving?

Well, I’ve been looking for one that would fit the whole family for quite some time. I’ve been unsuccessful – until now. I finally found a tale that is suitable for the Thanksgiving holiday that I really like. I want to share it with you.

It’s the story of Heath, a boy somewhere around 12 or 13 whose life, while not exactly grim, doesn’t have much joy in it. There is just he and his dad. His mom left long ago. When his dad isn’t working he’s typing away on the novel he’s writing or he’s out drinking. Money is tight and Heath knows how to buy the cheapest groceries. They live a life of “let’s just get through it.”

Heath doesn’t remember his grandfather since his dad and he have been separated for a long time. But big changes are underway in Heath’s life when his grandfather dies and leaves his father an Inn in New England. There are stipulations however. They must live at the Inn for three months and they must please the permanent guests at the Inn before the dad can inherit. It’s at this point that Heath’s life goes from black and white into full technicolor.

The four permanent guests, and a couple of other characters, add the sparkle and joy to Heath’s life that was missing. They don’t spoil him. He is required to do chores such as feeding all the animals and mucking out their stalls. Each of the book’s characters has had some kind of tragedy in his/her life or made stupid mistakes but, overall, each one is very positive and even cheerful.

One of my favorite characters is Winstead, a Jamaican who teaches Heath how to carve wood and shares his three-legged dog with Heath. I also liked Sallie (Salvatore) who is a muscular, tattoo-covered, motorcycle driving mechanic who quietly draws and writes children’s books. As Heath becomes acquainted with each character he learns each of their secrets but also learns how to live a life of gratitude.

This is a book that is begging to be read aloud. The chapters are organized so that each part of the story is complete within the chapter. But, of course, you still want to know what’s going to happen next. The characters and the story develop over twenty-one chapters so it makes it perfect for after dinner reading during the month of November. Another plus is the size of the print. It’s not a large-print book but the print is just a little bit bigger than normal. It was easy enough for this Nana to read with no problems.

My ten-year-old granddaughter, Q, had no problem reading the book. The book could be read in turn by the whole family. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m giving this one a strong recommendation, especially for family reading. Thanksgiving is exactly four weeks from today. You still have time to get this one and start a new tradition with your family.

Other bloggers who have read and reviewed this book are:

Life in the Thumb

Cafe of Dreams

Cindy’s Love of Books


Melody’s Reading Corner

A Reader’s Journal

Book Critiques

You can find Thanksgiving at the Inn – Hardcover at Amazon.

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10 Responses to Book Review: Thanksgiving at the Inn

  1. Beth F says:

    Thanks for pointing out that this is a good read aloud and that it could appeal to all ages. I like the idea of starting a new tradition.

  2. All the reviews of this book make it sound so wonderful, I think I just have to break down and get it! Who doesn’t like a heartwarming holiday story?!!

  3. Kathy says:

    It makes you wonder why there aren’t more Thanksgiving books out there, especially since it’s such a great holiday. This book sounds wonderful!

  4. Cerrin says:

    This sounds like a really great book I typicaly dont care for books that are set for holidays but I think this one sounds good.

  5. Tim Whitney says:

    Dear Margot,
    Thank you for not just a great review of my book, but for capturing the spirit in which it was written. You picked up on everything I wanted to convey to the reader and then some. I can thank you enough and I am thrilled that you enjoyed it and are sharing with others.

    We all have so much to be thankful for if we just slow down for a minute and reflect on all that we have to be truly grateful for. When a family can do that together, then I think it captures the true spirit of Thanksgiving.

    Best wishes to you and your family.

    Tim Whitney

  6. Stacy says:

    What a very nice recommendation.

  7. Tami says:

    You convinced me. 🙂 I’ve seen several reviews of this book and after reading your opinions, I’m putting it on the list to order for the library. I’m always on the look-out for family-friendly books. Thanks.

  8. Staci says:

    I adored Winstead too!! I would actually go to this inn for a weekend if it truly existed. Everything about this story was wonderful. Beautiful review!! Thanks for the shout-out!

  9. Jenners says:

    It is true … there aren’t a lot of books for Thanksgiving and this one sounds like a winner. And it makes sense to have a Thanksgiving reading tradition — it is a great way to talk about things in our lives we are thankful for. Great review …and what a good Nana you are!

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