This is just one of the many beautiful illustrations in Cranberry Thanksgiving, a gem of a book that I had growing up. Maggie, Grandmother and Mr. Whiskers, warm by the hearth, decide to let the thieving Mr. Horace inside to share the last piece of pumpkin pie.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. I love fall – the end of hot weather, the beautiful oranges, yellows and deep reds that explode around us in nature and decor. I love breaking out cozy sweaters and stylish boots. And the flavors: cinnamon, clove, maple, sage, pecan and, of course, cranberry.

While I was growing up, every Thanksgiving season I would especially look forward to the appearance of a book that was tucked away the rest of the year. The name of the book was “Cranberry Thanksgiving,” by Wende and Harry Devlín. It starred a young girl, Maggie, and her grandmother, who lived “at the edge of a lonely cranberry bog.” Also appearing were an ultimately heroic retired sea captain, Mr. Whiskers, and the shifty Mr. Horace, deceptively carrying a gold cane and smelling of lavender.  

The illustrations were fantastic and the story delicious. I thought Maggie was the most beautiful girl in the world with her long straight hair and chestnut brown eyes. The plot consisted of Grandmother’s cranberry bread recipe being so sought after that she kept it hidden behind a brick in the dining room fireplace where no one could steal it. Of course, someone does steal it – at Thanksgiving dinner, no less! Fear not, someone else saves the day. There is also a nice message in this book about what is really important. The silver does not all have to match, people are not always who they appear to be and we should forgive each other and let everyone have a piece of the pie. 

Sometime in the last decade or so my folks came across “Cranberry Thanksgiving” and brought it over to the house. Madeline loved the storybook as I had, but Jim, being a huge cranberry fan, was all about making “Grandmother’s Famous Cranberry Bread.” The recipe, tested by the Food Department of Parents’ Magazine, appears on the back of the book. I don’t remember making it growing up, but we found that it was pretty good. With a few modifications, here is our take on a Thanksgiving favorite, Grandma’s Cranberry Bread.

I highly recommend this book for any Thanksgiving gathering! For a long time it was out of print, but it looks like it is available again for purchase online. I also found in research that quite a few people picked it up at used book and thrift sales.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving tradition? Email me or share your thoughts in the comments below!