Turk and Runt: A Thanksgiving Comedy

Overview

Turk's parents are proud of him, the biggest, strongest, most graceful bird at Wishbone Farm. "He's a dancer," says his mother. "He's an athlete," says his father. "He's a goner," says his little brother, Runt.
But no one ever listens to Runt — even after people with seasonal plans and roasting pans begin showing up at Wishbone Farm, or even after the juiciest turkeys are chosen, one by one. "Chosen for what?" Turk asks. No one wants to hear Runt's answer. But you will laugh at ...

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Overview

Turk's parents are proud of him, the biggest, strongest, most graceful bird at Wishbone Farm. "He's a dancer," says his mother. "He's an athlete," says his father. "He's a goner," says his little brother, Runt.
But no one ever listens to Runt — even after people with seasonal plans and roasting pans begin showing up at Wishbone Farm, or even after the juiciest turkeys are chosen, one by one. "Chosen for what?" Turk asks. No one wants to hear Runt's answer. But you will laugh at what he has to do to get his family's attention. They are, after all, turkeys.

Runt the turkey is much smaller than his brother, but his intelligence keeps his family from becoming Thanksgiving Day dinner.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Wheeler and Ansley return to the comical family dynamics they related so successfully in Wool Gathering for this turkey tale set on Wishbone Farm. While Turk's parents cluck with pride over him, little brother Runt sees Turk's assets as liabilities (" `He's a dancer,' said his mother. `He's an athlete,' said his father. `He's a goner,' said... Runt. But no one ever listened to Runt"). The younger fowl continues his sarcastic asides as he scares off a football coach and a ballet instructor who admires Turk's legs ("Look at zee size of zose drumsticks!"), until finally his family sees the light. This funny tale may well make readers consider the fowl's side of the holiday; they may even spare the turkey. Ages 4-7. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Turk is "the biggest, strongest, and most graceful bird on Wishbone Farm." His younger brother, "Runt," has figured out why people come to the farm in November, but no one wants to listen. Their mother thinks that a young turkey will be singled out to be "the lead dancer in Swan Lake," and their father believes the chosen one will "play in the Thanksgiving Day football game." Runt remains the voice of reason throughout, humorously hinting at the truth, while being disregarded by the others. Much to his parents' dismay, Runt is able to drive away customers who are interested in his tasty-looking big brother. One November day, a little old lady comes along who decides Runt is just the right size for her holiday table. As usual, nobody pays attention to his cries for help, until his burly brother finally catches on. Safe for the Thanksgiving holiday, the birds finally acknowledge Runt's intelligence, and work together come Christmastime. Ansley's pen-and-ink and watercolor cartoons are a riot and elevate the simple plot to high drama. A silly, but thoroughly enjoyable holiday selection.-Melinda Piehler, North Tonawanda Public Library, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
It's difficult to explain why Runt, the aptly named young gobbler in Wheeler's tale, cares for the well-being of his hale and hearty older brother, Turk, as in turkey, real and metaphorical. Runt's parents lavish all their attention on Turk, all their praise, hopes, and counsel. "He's a dancer," said his mother. "He's an athlete," said his father. "He's a goner," said Runt, for only Runt seems to understand that handsome, plump birds get the chop at holiday time. Runt is full of such Woody Allen quips, and like Woody, Runt is also the unlikely hero, saving Turk from being purchased, roasted, and gently basted, by acting like a lunatic and scaring off potential buyers. Then, when a pinched and parsimonious shrew sets her sights on Runt, it's Turk's turn to do the right thing, and he pulls through. Wheeler's (Sailor Moo, Cow at Sea, p. 890, etc.) comic timing is well tuned here-even if her repetitive authorial aside, "But no one ever listened to Runt," quickly begins to grate. But most inspired are the luxurious watercolors from Ansley (Wool Gathering, 2001), with their midnight blues, regal purples, and turkey-skinned pinks depicting Turk in his football gear and assorted buyers in their most comic animation. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416907145
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 9/27/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 465,778
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.70 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Lisa Wheeler has written eighteen books for children, including The Pet Project, illustrated by Zachariah OHora, and the hilarious Spinster Goose, illustrated by Sophie Blackall. She lives with her family in Addison, Michigan. Visit her online at LisaWheelerBooks.com.

Frank Ansley has illustrated four other books by Lisa Wheeler: Turk and Runt (starred in Booklist), Wool Gathering (starred in Publishers Weekly), and the first two books in the Fitch & Chip series, New Pig in Town and When Pigs Fly. Mr. Ansley and his wife, Pat, live in St. Helena, California.

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