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As We Gather: Songs of Thanksgiving

By Joy Marie Dunlap
LightHome Publications

27695 Blue Diamond Lane
Romoland, CA 92585-9019

This downloadable e-book is a multi-level, Thanksgiving-themed art and penmanship workbook for all ages. Once you purchase the book, you must download it as an Adobe PDF file. To open the file, you must have Acrobat Reader, a free program easily downloaded from the Internet. Once you have purchased it, you may print it as often as you like, for as many children in your family as necessary.

LightHome Publications makes the most beautiful penmanship copywork pages I have ever seen. This particular book has 40 penmanship pages using verses to some of our most precious hymns of thanksgiving, such as "We Gather Together," "For the Beauty of the Earth," "This Is My Father's World," "O Worship the King," and more. The penmanship is multi-level in that the copywork samples are provided in both standard print and cursive. The lined writing guides are on the small side (about the size of lined notebook paper), so children younger than fourth or fifth grade may need to use separate writing paper with bigger writing guides. Each penmanship page includes a full-color illustration of a famous painting that enhances the words of the hymn. Educational information about the painting and the artist is included on each page. To fully appreciate these pages, you must have a color printer.

Included in this book are 13 beautiful Thanksgiving-themed coloring pages consisting of detailed line drawings. Four full-color examples are included to help guide students in coloring some of these pages.

The first several pages give ideas and detailed instructions for decorating the table for Thanksgiving, instructions for creating an artistic Thanksgiving menu, two Thanksgiving recipes, and three Thanksgiving crafts. All these pages are illustrated with photos of the author's family and full-color examples of the things they have created. The artistic and creative abilities of the Dunlap family never cease to amaze me. Mrs. Dunlap explains things so clearly that my ten-year-old daughter could very easily follow the illustrations and instructions independently. Doing these crafts, even I could look like a decorating genius, which I am not!

Also included in the back of this book are six blank copywork pages (in six different writing sizes) to be used with whatever copywork you choose. Each of these pages is again illustrated with a full-color example of one of the famous paintings. Just beautiful!

Printing this whole book (75 pages) all at once in full color would be expensive and would use up quite a bit of color ink. However, since this is an e-book, you have the option to view the book on-screen and just print the pages you want to use as you need them. The pages could be printed in black-and-white and still be functional for the penmanship portion, but be sure to view the colors on-screen to fully take advantage of the art lessons included. The richness of the colors in all the artwork and photos is what makes this book so lovely for Thanksgiving. And the fullness of the colors brings so much glory to our Creator!

All of LightHome Publications' products are gorgeous--so beautifully designed. They have 21 different penmanship workbooks for many more subjects and grade levels. You will find penmanship books with prose, hymns, Scripture verses, famous quotes, and more, all with beautiful illustrations. Many of these books include unit study materials with history, arts, crafts, activities, coloring, recipes, and more. LightHome Publications makes, in my opinion, the finest penmanship products. This book retails for $25, but at the time of this review, it was on sale on the LightHome website for $8.18. I would buy it at either price without batting an eye. It is worth the money. If good penmanship is important to you, don't even think twice about buying LightHome penmanship books. You won't find better. This book would also work for a unit study, for lapbooking, for arts and crafts, or for a group class (keeping in mind that each family must purchase a separate copy). Visit the website and download sample pages to see for yourself how delightful these books are.

Product review by Camilla Anderson, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, August 2009

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