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Sometimes It's Turkey, Sometimes It's Feathers

Last updated Friday, November 4, 2005

Author: Lorna Balian
Date of Publication:
ISBN: 1932065334
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Nov. 2005

Synopsis: The collaborative effort of Lorna and Lecia Balian, Sometimes It's Turkey, Sometimes It's Feathers is a wonderfully charming holiday picture book about an old woman with a cat who finds a turkey egg. She hatches and raises the turkey, and anticipates a tasty Thanksgiving dinner with it - yet when the season rolls around she finds it far more enjoyable to share the holiday with her new avian friend than to eat him! "He'll be much bigger - and much plumper - next Thanksgiving!" she says to herself, in this sprightly illustrated and enthusiastically recommended tale.

Note to readers:
•  Volunteers: Our teachers have chosen a non-chapter, fairly short book for this month. It will be a fun challenge to share this book with the children, and you will be able to spend a larger amount of time in discussion with them.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Look at the cover: why do you think the woman is chasing a turkey?
•  What do you think this book will be about?
•  How do you celebrate Thanksgiving?
•  What are your favorite foods to eat?
•  Have you ever seen a live turkey? Where? What do they look like?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  How did Mrs. Gumm get the turkey to grow big and plump?
•  What kinds of things does the turkey eat? Does that surprise you? What do you think a turkey would eat if you kept it at your house?
•  What does Mrs. Gumm plan on doing with the turkey for Thanksgiving?
•  What actually happens on Thanksgiving? Does that surprise you? Why?
•  Why do you think she changed her mind? It feels like there is a part of the story missing -- take turns saying what happened outside.
•  Do you think Mrs. Gumm will eat the turkey at the next Thanksgiving?
•  Do you think the title is a good one? Why or why not? What would you title the book?
•  What do you think that it is like to live on a farm where you raise what you eat? Do you think you would like that?
•  What is Thanksgiving about? Why do we celebrate it?
•  What are you thankful for? What are you not thankful for?
•  Do you think that you say thank you for the things you are thankful for often enough? Why or why not?

Craft ideas:
•  Use a paper plate (or circle cut out of construction paper) as the frame of a wreath; cut out the top half of the middle. Make leaves out of construction paper and decorate the wreath with leaves that say what they are thankful for. Bring ahead option: paper plates, leaf templates from http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/leaf/leaftemplate.shtml.
•  Make paper bag turkey puppets.

Special activities:
•  Use your turkey puppets (or just pretend) and act out what the turkey might have done to stop Mrs. Gumm from eating him/her for Thanksgiving.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!