Sunday, November 21, 2010

Review: Cranberry Thanksgiving

Summary: Grandmother certainly didn't want to ask Mr. Whiskers for Thanksgiving dinner! 

She was very angry when Maggie asked him. 

She was even more angry when SOMEONE stole her favorite, secret recipe for cranberry bread! 

Was Mr. Whiskers the thief?-- Parents' Magazine Press

A few weeks ago, I was scouring our local library's "free-to-a-good-home" table, and I was positively delighted to find a very old (1971) copy of CRANBERRY THANKSGIVING by Wende and Harry Devlin. I have very fond memories of this book as a child, but I honestly haven't thought about this book for many, many years. I was so excited to bring it home and share it with my kids!

CRANBERRY THANKSGIVING is just a classic and I totally understand why. The sweet picture book tells the story of Maggie and her grandmother who live on the edge of a cranberry bog. Maggie's grandmother is hosting Thanksgiving dinner and both she and Maggie are allowed to invite one guest. Maggie's grandmother invites a spiffy man who is staying at the local hotel, and Maggie (much to her grandmother's chagrin) invites their scruffy looking neighbor, Mr. Whiskers. When Maggie's grandmother's secret recipe for her famous cranberry bread gets stolen during dinner, she immediately thinks the culprit is Mr. Whiskers. Fortunately grandmother is wrong and learns a valuable lesson in the process -- looks can be deceiving!

I wasn't aware of this until I started to write my review, but there is an entire series of books based on Cranberry Thanksgiving. The series of 15 books includes CRANBERRY MYSTERY, CRANBERRY HALLOWEEN, and and CRANBERRY CHRISTMAS to name just a few. Guess what I'll be looking for the next time I visit the library?

One memory I have of this book is reading it with my mom. I absolutely begged her to make the cranberry bread recipe included in the back of the book, but to no avail. My mom doesn't like cranberries; and as a result, she never made cranberry bread. I still tease her that I was neglected because I never had cranberry bread until I was an adult. Isn't it ironic that cranberry bread is now one of my favorite foods? In fact, I always made a few loaves around the holiday season! (My dad and sister love it too!)

I wanted to share with you the recipe for cranberry bread that is included in CRANBERRY THANKSGIVING. It's not exactly the one that I make every year, but it's pretty darn close!

Grandmother's Famous Cranberry Bread
(Get Mother to help)

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
3/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cup light raisins 
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add egg, orange peel, and orange juice all at once; stir just until mixture is evenly moist. Fold in raisins and cranberries.

Spoon into a greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack.

If you choose, you may substitute cranberries for the raisins to have an all cranberry bread.

I found CRANBERRY THANKSGIVING to be delightful, and it was as good as I remember! I love the illustrations and the story, and I think the message is one that we can never hear too often -- especially during the holiday season!
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bermudaonion said...

Boy, does that story sound familiar. I'm sure I didn't read it when it first came out because I would have been 13, so I'm guessing Vance had it.

The cranberry bread sounds delicious and easy - we may just have to have that this Thanksgiving!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I love cranberries too and I am obsessed with wanting to go to a cranberry bog. This sounds like the perfect series for me! :--)

Beth F said...

I missed this book growing up -- but I love the story and the lesson. I love it that you tease your mom about the cranberry bread. I'll have to try this recipe, I have a cranberry-orange quick bread I often make, but this one sounds worth trying.

Rebecca Rasmussen said...

This looks like a charmer -- and I kind of want to make that version of cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving this year!

Veens said...

I never read this book growing up, but I want to get it for Aarya :)

And that recipe sounds delicious and easy!

Anonymous said...

I love the Cranberry series. I read them to both my daughter and my son and had completely forgot about them. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

Gerbera Daisy Diaries said...

This looks delightful!! I missed this growing up too!

Jill said...

Hi all, Purple House Press is reissuing Cranberry Thanksgiving in time for Thanksgiving 2012! Complete with original illustrations and the recipe :) We're releasing Old Black Witch! as well, you can read more about them at