What do you call it when it rains turkeys? Fowl Weather (of course!)
Most times, these ungainly strutting birds get no respect, not even as dinner’s main course. Take the Butterball Turkey Helpline—most new cooks are baffled by such a huge rotund bird for which large roasting pans and big ovens are required—as their many questions, often hilariously recounted, are answered.
The grocery stores begin to pile their freezer bins full of these denuded and rock solid turkeys as the holiday months loom ever closer. The frozen turkey is just another ornament, albeit an enormous one, to check off the list.
Luckily, in the world of children’s literature, the turkeys in picture book stories are still fully feathered and feisty creatures. A hilarious new book written and illustrated by Dennis Cazet, Bob and Tom, follows the barnyard adventures of two rather dim turkeys, who spend their days in often cavalier manner, seeking answers. One of their musings leads them to sit in the lake using the farmer’s wife’s polka dot swim suit as a flotation device. Or consider Baa Baa Smart Sheep by Mark and Rowan Sommerset, which features a crafty sheep, tricking a turkey into eating poo or as Sheep calls it, “smarty tablets.”
Local author George Shannon has a turkey with perseverance as the main character in Turkey Tot, thinking up innovative and funny ways to get the berries too high on top. Along those gardening lines, Too Many Turkeys by Linda White reveals a secret ingredient to flourishing flowers and vegetable beds to envious neighbors, as long as they adopt a turkey of their own. British actor Emma Thompson has lovingly recrafted Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit characters into her own series of books. The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit tells the tale of a hapless turkey, who is slated to be Mr. And Mrs. McGregor’s Christmas feast, but instead finds new life and disguise as Mrs. McGregor’s decorative bonnet.
In Gobble Gobble by Cathryn Falwell, the wild turkey is given much respect and gorgeous presence as a little girl follows wild turkey flock through four seasons of the year. A factual afterword and suggestions for crafts and journaling are full of fun facts. Did you know that the fleshy bumps on the tom turkey’s head and neck that can turn from white to bright red, are called carnuncles? Lastly, the life of a wild turkey is told in first person verse by Tom the Turkey, who loves to “talk turkey,” in Jim Arnosky’s vibrantly illustrated book, I’m a Turkey. Perhaps, like me, after seeing a wild turkey appear suddenly on the side of the road in upstate Maine, children will be fascinated by these 15 lb. behemoths of the bird species and not so much the frozen ones in stores for holiday feasting. Tofurky, anyone?
~ posted by Diane C.