Rock, Gail. The Thanksgiving Treasure
September 12th 1974 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young
Addie and her friend Carla Mae want to make flower arrangements for Thanksgiving for their teacher and for home, so they go on a slightly forbidden bicycle ride to the other side of the Platte River in 1947 to get cattails at Old Man Rehnquist's farm. He refused to pay her father after he dug a pond on the property, and is generally the kind of old man who waves his shotgun around at people who trespass on his property, but Addie sees his horse, who looks like she needs exercise, and after listening to her teacher's discussion of the real meaning of Thanksgiving, decides to befriend the old man and take him a holiday dinner. She manages to hide enough food to take out to him, and Mr. Rehnquist reluctantly eats and and agrees to Addie's plan to exercise the horse, Treasure. In a development that should shock no one who grew up reading books like A Girl Called Al, Mr. Rehnquist becomes ill, Addie brings over her doctor uncle... but it's too late. She is left the horse, and the father is left the money he is owed.
Strengths: There are very few middle grade holiday tales, and students still ask for them. This is a short, easy read, and would be great for students reluctant to read historical fiction. It is one of the few books I remember reading in middle school, and I have The House Without a Christmas Tree as well.
Weaknesses: Both (hangs head in shame) of my copies look a bit ragged, having been in the library for over 40 years. The copy in my hand hasn't left the shelf for seven years. Sigh. They should go. I'm sure there were two copies because of the television programs with Jason Robards and Mildred Natwick. Even those programs look extremely dated, having been videotaped instead of filmed, and suffering from a 1970s lack of action!
Interestingly, also an eBook published November 4th 2014 by Open Road Media Teen & Tween.