Over the River and Through the Woods illustrated by Matt Tavares

I received a portion of this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. See full disclosure at close of post or read my disclosure policy for more details. *Thanks to the publicist for providing a copy for review.*

0763666963Over the River and Through the Woods:
The New England Boy’s Song About Thanksgiving Day by Lydia Maria Childs
Illustrated by Matt Tavares
Genre: Juvenile Fiction / Holidays & Celebrations
Ages 3 to 7, Grades P to 2
Pages: 32 Hardcover 7 5/16″ x 8 1/2″
Date Published: August 27th, 2013
Publisher: Candlewick Press

Matt Tavares’s lavish illustrations illuminate this definitive edition of a beloved seasonal classic.

The horse is ready, the air is bracing, and everyone is bundled into the sleigh. So let the wind blow and the snow start to fall! This family is off to Grandfather’s house for a delicious feast. Matt Tavares, with his keen eye for detail, fresh and surprising perspectives, and all the warmth and coziness of a big holiday dinner, illuminates the original text of Lydia Maria Child’s verse about Thanksgiving Day, which has marked the start of the holiday season for generations of children.

Hmm… my mind is split on where to start sharing my thoughts. When I was a child it was the Chipmunks’ Christmas Album version of this song I sang again and again. In some of our poetry books (I think it was Gyo Fujikawa) I noticed this poem text. I never knew it was a Thanksgiving journey and NOT Christmas! Through the book list for Memoria Press ( I think it is 3rd grade, maybe 2nd) the older picture book version from NorthSouth illustrated by Christopher Manson in wood cuts was discovered to me. Actually just last week we bought a bargain abridged board book version of it. It’s nice and interesting to look at (and is an awesome size 6×7) but it doesn’t even begin to compare to the art of Matt Tavares.

I was first introduced to Matt Tavares in his edition of ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas, also from Candlewick Press, which we read at the library but is still on my wishlist (also a recommendation from Memoria Press). It was enchanting. This book is enchanting (and makes me break out in song) and beautiful! The images are softer (rounded corners) and full of color and vibrant motion and life. My favorite is the page that refers “the sleigh upset…” and the father and mother are with a startled look and the boy’s expression is pure delight! The edition I have is a reinforced trade edition new for 2013 (7 5/16″ x 8 1/2″), I believe there is a picture book edition previously in 2011 (9 3/4″ x 11 5/16″) but this is the perfect size for my child’s hands and works well as a snuggle read/sing aloud as well.

A neat thing to point out through reading (maybe when not singing…) is the little boy’s hat and the dog’s attempted rescue of it. Very fun and giggle-worthy, that. This book contains more of the poem text and is not abridged (at least as far as I can tell) and thus adds so much more. Definitely a family favorite to be treasured.

Lydia Maria Child (1802–1880) was an activist and writer of novels, pamphlets, and works for children. She often used her writing to advocate for slaves, women, and Native Americans. Lydia Maria Child was born in Medford, Massachusetts, where her grandfather’s house, which she celebrates in her poem, still stands.

Matt Tavares is the illustrator of many books for children, including ’TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS and Kristin Kladstrup’s THE GINGERBREAD PIRATES. He is also the author-illustrator of several books about baseball: ZACHARY’S BALL, OLIVER’S GAME, MUDBALL, and HENRY AARON’S DREAM. Matt Tavares lives in Ogunquit, Maine.

I received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. I received no other compensation for this review. The opinions expressed in this review are my personal, honest opinions. Your experience may vary. Please read my full disclosure policy for more details.

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About CherryBlossomMJ

The Creative Madness Mama also known as Margaret is a Christian Stay-at-home Mama, married to the Enginerd, Quilter, avid reader and book-a-holic. A book blogger for bunches of different publicists. She loves to share the latest and greatest about books coming out as well as her quilt and other crafty projects with some pictures of her eight-year-old AppleBlossom, three-year-old Almond Blossom (the Rascal boy!), six-year-old OrangeBlossom (the Princess), and newborn Mermaid Warrior in between. Plotting to be a homeschooler, she's a cloth diapering, breastfeeding, babywearing, list making mama full of a little creative and a lot of madness.


  1. and is, or was when I was there, the current home of the Fletcher School’s dean.

  2. I love Christmas books! This one looks great!

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