But as happens every year at this time, I receive emails and phone calls from teachers and parents looking for my 1992 illustrated version of Thanksgiving at the Tappleton's (written by Eileen Spinelli). Thank you all for contacting me. It is one of my favorite books as well, but no longer available with my illustrations. Here are recent emails:
Why did someone change the illustrations for Thanksgiving at the Tappletons? Illustrations with people, rather than wolves, are much more effective.
"This morning I began my search on the internet to purchase a copy of "Thanksgiving at the Tappleton's" as gifts for my family members. The effort was locating a copy of the book with the illustrations of people seated at the dinner table on the front of instead of the current copy which has a group of foxes(?). I think the book has lost some of it's impact and "wow" with the non human illustration."
Amazon review: This is a wonderful Thanksgiving story for children and families--a true classic. However, it was ever so much more effective when the illustrations were of people, not wolves! If you can find an older version with the people illustrations, buy that one instead.
Here is the Sad Saga: I first illustrated this book in 1980 (fresh out of college- my first job!) Back in the 80's it was very expensive to print in full color, so I illustrated the book with 'pre-separated' 2-color interior art, and a full color cover.(Thankfully that technique is not needed anymore!) Here is the 1982 cover:
Ten years later, I was asked by HarperCollins to re-illustrate this book. In 1992 my full color version was published:
Eileen Spinelli wrote a wonderful, timeless story. I still share this book with my family each year. Thanksgiving at the Tappleton's was available for 23 years. Then in 2002 I made a phone call to HarperCollins and offered to re-illustrate the cover for it's upcoming 25th Anniversary. Unfortunately, I was shocked to receive the news from a young editor that the story was being re-illustrated by another illustrator with the Tappleton family becoming a family of wolves....Yes- WOLVES!
Every year readers contact me searching for my version, and every year I ask HarperCollins to bring my classic version back. (My offer still stands to illustrate a new cover.) I will forever feel that HarperCollins made a big mistake. To all those people who are looking for my book- I am sorry.
If you are interested in giving your view, please drop HarperCollins a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or email me at MCLeffler@aol.com
Let's hope someday they'll bring the people back!
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.