Let's Talk Turkey

turkeyCindy: I came home a few weeks ago to find a wild turkey strutting through my front yard. I frequently have to slow down and wait for a flock to saunter across the road on my way to work, but that was the first one to walk my garden path. Jim Arnosky’s new picture book, I’m a Turkey (Scholastic, 2009) pays tribute to this bird that Ben Franklin wanted for our national symbol instead of the bald eagle. It’s a fun turkey option for fall storyhours, and one that doesn’t include the plight of the scheduled-to-be-eaten bird with all trimmings, although natural predators are mentioned. Among other facts, children will learn that the fifteen pound bird can fly fifty miles per hour once it gets off the ground. The bright acrylic paintings are perfect for large group sharing, and for added fun, play the spoken-word jaunty song by Arnosky available online from Scholastic while you share the pictures. Gobble, gobble.

40623834Lynn: Hmmm. The flock of turkeys that usually strolls nonchalantly through my wooded backyard has disappeared lately – but wait! Maybe they have heard us reading Wendi Silvano’s Turkey Trouble (Marshall Cavendish 2009) and donned cunning disguises. The turkey in the book realizes he’s in trouble – “the kind of trouble where it’s almost Thanksgiving and you’re the main course.” Turkey decides to disguise himself as something not eaten for Thanksgiving. The trouble is that Turkey’s disguises aren’t very good and not even the other animals are fooled. Turkey looks around the garden in desperation and has an inspiration. Next day a strange looking delivery man arrives at the farmer’s door with a delicious Thanksgiving pizza. Turkey lives to gobble another day and everyone is happy.

Lee Harper’s comic illustrations are hilarious. Our focus group especially enjoyed Turkey’s disguises as he works his way around the barnyard. Adults will love the cow disguise in particular and my grandsons delighted in figuring out that the rooster disguise was no protection from the oven. The bouncy text is perfect for reading aloud and the big bright illustrations make this a great story hour book. As the cook for the large group gathering at our house next week I’m inspired too. A Thanksgiving Pizza sounds pretty good to me!

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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