Turkey Tot

illus. by Jennifer K. Mann. 32p. Holiday House. Oct. 2013. RTE $16.95. ISBN 978-0-8234-2379-8. LC 2011022103.
PreS-K—Turkey Tot thinks outside the box. He's hopeful, imaginative, and persistent, refusing to let his Debbie Downer friends in the farmyard discourage him. He's determined to retrieve juicy blackberries that hang just out of reach, but he needs a little help to implement the plans he makes to get within range. His enthusiastic schemes include floating up to the berries via a bunch of balloons and being flung at them from a teeter-totter. Naysayers Pig, Hen, and Chick tell him no way, no how. No matter, because Turkey Tot pulls together materials to make a pair of stilts from tin cans, and he fills a basket with the plump berries on his own. Now, his detractors sing a different tune. Hen's observation that Turkey Tot has been "different since the day he hatched" is no longer a criticism but a compliment. Shannon's writing is simple, clean, and cheerful, and his message of stick-to-itiveness is delivered perfectly. He also incorporates refrains that kids will have fun repeating during storytimes. Mann's illustrations, a blend of watercolor, pencil, and digital collage, pop against ample white space, and the four characters are depicted in a wonderfully silly and endearing style. This picture book, like its protagonist, is a bona fide winner.—Alyson Low, Fayetteville Public Library, AR
Shannon's comically gangly turkey is a creative thinker and excellent problem-solver, unlike pessimistic Pig, Hen, and Chick, who immediately give up on reaching some high-growing blackberries: "No sweet and juicy treat today." When Turkey Tot comes across a ball of string, his friends aren't impressed, and they pooh-pooh his idea of finding some balloons to go with the string to help them float up to the berries. ("He's been different since the day he hatched" is Hen's refrain.) Like that industrious Little Red Hen of folklore, Turkey Tot just keeps on working, not always finding what he's looking for but finding something else he may be able to put to use, like a hammer and nails or a pair of tin cans. At the end, with hard work, a little imagination, and a positive attitude, Turkey Tot succeeds, and shares his spoils with his no-longer-skeptical friends. Mann uses loose black lines with bright watercolors and digital collage in her illustrations. Big, comic-style thought balloons show the friends imagining each of the turkey's schemes failing, their round eyes with black dots somehow giving away their thoughts. With its short words and sentences and humorous repetition, this makes a good early reader as well as an entertaining storytime book. susan dove lempke

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing