“Thank You for the food we eat”: a Dick and Jane Altered Book

Mother, Jane, Father, Sally, and Dick

Dick and Jane readers were a wonderful part of my childhood – I still get such a cozy feeling just looking at them. So, when my sister, Abby and I decided to exchange little handmade Thanksgiving books last year, I chose the Dick and Jane theme for the “We Give Thanks” book I made for Fran.

Dick, Jane and Sally

Thank you for the food we eat,

Spot, Tim and Puff

Thank you for the world so sweet,

Jane, Sally and Dick

Thank you for the birds that sing,

Mother, Dick, Sally and Tim

Thank you, God, for everything.



First I photocopied illustrations from a Dick and Jane reprint that I’d bought a few years ago at Wal-Mart (these reprints were from the 1950s’ editions). I also have 2 copies of original editions, and I wish I had used them to copy because the pictures are much better. A copy of a copy is very often not a good thing. But anyway, I selected pictures that I thought would illustrate the prayer we learned in Kindergarten at Mingo School (before our schools became so God-less).

The title “We Give Thanks” is in keeping with the Dick and Jane series, for instance, “We Work and Play”,  “We Look and See”, “We Come and Go”, etc.

To give it the feel of a board book, I made my own chipboard pages from a Coca-Cola carton. I probably should’ve rounded the edges slightly.

The background layout for the illustrations were enlarged and photocopied prose pages from the Dick and Jane books.  The edges were distressed with blue ink; brown might’ve been better.

For the prayer itself, I photocopied a page of old penmanship-style scrapbook paper. Now I realize that I could’ve bought a whole tablet of that paper at Dollar General for about $1.00.  Anyway,to get the look of children’s printing, I used a pencil in my left hand (I am right-handed). As you can see from the “Thank you God for everything” page, I accidentally wrote “Lord”. I need to fix that.

To finish, I punched 3 holes on each page and used blue gingham ribbon to bind it. On the back I used a “Handmade by” stamp and signed my name.

Now I think I’ll make one to keep for myself.


Filed under 1950s, Altered Books, Books, Children's, Cozy, Crafts, Crafts - Cheap, Crafts - Paper, Faith, Free, Mingo, Thanksgiving, Thrift

6 responses to ““Thank You for the food we eat”: a Dick and Jane Altered Book

  1. Carla — I have such fond memories of the Dick and Jane books. They truly were the first books I learned to read. I can remember bringing one home from school and showing my mother that I could read it! Thanks for the trip down memory lane. 🙂

  2. You’re welcome, Sandra. Did your school have the big oversized books? They were the same stories as our readers, only giant sized and the teacher held them up in front of the class. I’ve never seen any for sale at the antique mall, but maybe that’s a good thing – the last Dick and Jane reader I saw was $90.00.

  3. Dick and Jane were the books I learned to read with too! how cool and I still have my book w/this prayer in it!
    Pam Going Postal

    • Which book was it in? I didn’t have a copy to go by; I just chose illustrations that seemed to fit the lines of the prayer.

      You do beautiful work and I was glad to find your blog.

      Thanks for visiting mine!

  4. Hi, Carla — I had forgotten about the giant Dick and Jane books until you mentioned them. Yes, my teacher DID use those. What fun to remember. Thank you! (I also can vividly remember the giant yellow tablets my teacher used to teach us writing and printing. She used a felt tip pen to write on it that had a very distinctive smell — a smell I can smell right now when I think about it! 🙂

    • I just loved those big books. And I’d forgotten all about them, too, until I saw them about 5 years ago in a principal’s office in Paradise, Texas (boy, how I’d love to write that name on my return address labels. Our town’s name is rather mundane.)

      For once, I was in a principal’s office for a good reason – our political organization was gathering donated items to take to the Veteran’s hospital and the children had written valentines for them.

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