Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Turkeys are Birds, Too!: Thomas Turkey's Terrible Tricks

After all of the other turkeys on Felicia's farm have disappeared, Thomas is afraid he is about to become Thanksgiving dinner. To distract the farmer from adding him to the meal, Thomas resorts to tricks and enlists the help of his barnyard friends to drive Felicia away from the farm. Reed's art is whimsical and a little quirky, almost childlike, and very colorful. The humor in Thomas Turkey's Terrible Tricks, and the ingenious animals, will appeal to readers who love Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin.

After being out of print for several years, Lynn Rowe Reed is reissuing a new version of her Thanksgiving book. The art work was totally redone for Thomas Turkey's Terrible Tricks but the text is virtually the same as in Thelonius Turkey Lives! Although Thomas is a domesticated turkey, readers do learn a bit about the bird in Reed's story. One reason I especially like the story is that it has a compassionate ending. Jim and I are vegetarians. I stopped eating birds when after someone pointed out that we kill millions of birds a day; but we call them chicken or turkey. We haven't eaten turkey at Thanksgiving in over 25 year so it's great to find a book that shares what we know: it's the friends and the side dishes that really make the meal special!

(Copyright Lynn Rowe Reed; used with permission)
Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be our national bird instead of the bald eagle because they are intelligent. Their heads also can change colors varying between red, white, and blue, when excited. Wild turkeys are upland ground birds that are very different from the bird that many Americans eat on the 4th Thursday in November.  Easily recognizable by their distinctive plumage and bare heads, their gobbling call is also very familiar to anyone who spends time in the habitat. They travel in flocks and roost in trees at night. Although hunted to near extinction in the 1930s, more than 7 million wild turkeys now roam throughout North America.

(Copyright Lynn Rowe Reed; used with permission)
Fun Facts to Consider:
  • The average wild turkey has 5,500 feathers.
  • 18 feathers give the male his distinctive tail.
  • Their powerful legs allow them to run up to an average speed of 25 mph.
  • Turkeys are omnivorous but mainly eat grains, mixed with a bit of berries, insects, and small reptiles.
  • The average wild turkey lives 3-5 years.
  • The wild turkey is one of two birds native to North America that has been domesticated for food. The other is the Muscovy duck.
  • Although native to North America, the turkey probably got its name because the British confused it with an African guinea fowl that made its way to Europe via Turkey; hence called a  "turkey bird."
  • Wild turkeys were domesticated in Mexico and exported to Europe before being brought back to North America.
Wild Turkey, Choke Canyon, 2016