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A Turkey for Thanksgiving Paperback – September 18, 1995

4.6 out of 5 stars 59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Although a paper turkey decorates Mrs. Moose's Thanksgiving table, she longs for the real thing--so her obliging husband sets out to find her one. He is joined by his soon-to-be dinner guests: Rabbit, in his quilted down vest; poky Porcupine, in his furry earmuffs; and ravenous Mr. Goat, who devours everything in sight, including Sheep's plaid hat. They find Turkey hiding in his nest, surrounded by signs that discourage visitors. Trying to console the terrified bird, Mr. Moose explains: "We just want you for Thanksgiving dinner," which only confirms Turkey's fears. Young readers will be as thrilled as Turkey to hear that Mrs. Moose wants him at her table, not on it. Together, Bunting's ( In the Haunted House ; The Wednesday Surprise ) good-natured tale and de Groat's ( Hi Bears, Bye Bears ) autumn-hued, richly detailed watercolors convey the animals' warm friendship and the humor resulting from the misunderstanding. This ideal family read-aloud will awaken the holiday spirit in all. Ages 3-6.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2-- A mild story with a flowing text and surprise ending. Mrs. Moose, who is preparing the holiday feast, complains that everyone else has a turkey for Thanksgiving, but she doesn't. Genially, Mr. Moose sets forth to find one. Along the way the other dinner guests--Rabbit, the Goats, Sheep, and Porcupine, all appropriately dressed in cold weather gear such as down jackets, boots, and earlapped caps--join in the search. The anxious turkey, too fat to run far, is soon captured and marched to the Moose house for the meal. Luckily for him, he turns out to be just another guest at the table laden with greens, bark, sprouts, and acorns. Humorous double-page spreads in cheerful watercolors show the plump, personable animals in an ice-crusted autumn woodland and a snug country cottage that suits the Mooses and the Goats, who are garbed like Eastern European peasants. --Patricia Pearl, formerly at First Presbyterian School, Martinsville, VA
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 410L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395742129
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395742129
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 7.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #255,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Melanie on October 31, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When selecting books for our children, I try to pick stories that will hold their attention, provide an important message, and involve animals and/or nature. Eve Bunting’s book A Turkey For Thanksgiving has all of these criteria - and more! It is also a good book for children who are vegetarians or vegans.
In A Turkey For Thanksgiving Mrs. Moose is preparing a Thanksgiving dinner for her and Mr. Moose’s animal friends. However, this year she has decided that she wants a turkey for dinner so Mr. Moose, joined by his friends, sets off to find one. Eventually a turkey is found by the river and brought back for dinner. The terrified turkey is delighted, and relieved, to learn that he isn’t the main course, but a guest at this vegetarian feast! This delightful book evokes the true spirit of Thanksgiving. –Reviewed by Glenn Perrett
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Format: Paperback
Mr. Moose wants to make his wife happy by finding her a turkey for their Thanksgiving dinner. All the guests join in to look for the bird. The poor turkey is so afraid that he is reluctent to go with them. He (and we readers) find out in the end that they don't want him to be ON the table. Instead they want him to be AT the table to celebrate the holiday with them together.
I like this book because its surprising and heart-warming ending. When I was told that TURKEY is a symbol of Thanksgiving, I used to think "Of course, turkey is the main dish in our Thanksgiving dinner". Now I have discovered the new meaning of Thanksgiving.
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A Kid's Review on November 30, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is about Thanksgiving. We all thought that this book was really funny. We learned that having friends is good. Our class learned some new words. The book told us what happens at Thanksgiving. Everyone one should read this good book.
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I kept seeing this in bookstores and thought it was a cute story but only bought it this year. The pages have bulk text and some higher level words, not age appropriate for younger children. But my 4 year old enjoyed it this year.

It resembles a cartoo n short I remember from Nickelodeon when I was younger, about turkeys hiding from being Thanksgiving dinner. This has a very different ending though. In the cartoon the turkeys hide from being dinner, but when they sit down for their own feast it is revealed they are eating a pilgrim.

You don't have to worry, this book doesn't end up quite so morbid. However I think it will start to cause children to question why we eat some animals, and if that is "nice" to do.

At the end of this book, all the animals sit down and share a vegetarian meal, and the turkey breathes a sigh of relief that they aren't eating him. But it left me to wonder, why were the animals less than forthcoming with their reasons for taking the turkey? Their actions basically amount to turkey-napping. And the poor bird believes he is on his way to his death, yet no one speaks up to clarify. Is it all a big joke? Seems a bit mean if so.

And what about Mrs. Moose? Is she collecting animals? Is there a species quota at her table? Should you lead a discussion with your preschooler about affirmative action for woodland creatures?

Of course I'm being a bit silly. Your child will most likely not notice these quirks of the story. But maybe an older kids would, and maybe you can incorporate them in a fun discussion. Or maybe you can just read the book and move on. Either way, Happy Thanksgiving!
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As a vegan mom, I was hoping this book would be a good animal-friendly addition to our Thanksgiving library. While the story's premise, of inviting a turkey as a guest to a feast, is a sweet one, the execution was poorly thought out and anything but animal-friendly.

Mr. Moose attempts to placate his wife by bringing a turkey to their feast. The author builds in suspense as Moose's friends join in the search. They find a turkey, hidden away in his nest, and proceed to chase him. The turkey trips and in one particularly disturbing page, Mr. Moose pins the fallen, terrified turkey's head to the ground with his boot and then proceeds to carry him frightened and unwilling back to the Moose residence. Turkey takes it all rather well when it is revealed in a big "Surprise!" ending that the meal is vegan and that he's a guest along with the animals who spent the morning hunting him down and kidnapping him.

Strange mixed message, particularly with the boot to the head illustration and text, that seems less like friendship and more like practical joke gone wrong. (Sorta like, "Oh! Haha! Did you think we meant to murder you? That boot thing was just for dramatic effect. Didn't you realize that? How hilarious!")

For a truly heartwarming Thanksgiving tale, I suggest Twas The Night Before Thanksgiving (Bookshelf), where a group of school children befriend and save turkeys from slaughter or the earth reverent Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message (Reading Rainbow Book).
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This is a beautifully illustrated book with a message about friendship. Mrs. Moose wants a turkey for Thanksgiving, but Turkey is not in lined to attend. I read this to a group of children between the ages of 2 and 5. They all enjoyed the story and the pictures.
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