Thursday, June 2, 2011

Turkey Monsters at Thanksgiving by Anne Warren Smith; A Book Review

Title: Turkey Monsters at Thanksgiving
Author: Anne Warren Smith
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Imprint: Balzer + Bray
Pub Date: September 1, 2011
ISBN: 9780807581261
Category: FICTION - JUVENILE: Concepts: Issues of divorce, death, and friendship handled with love and humor
Readers: Intermediate
Reviewer: Patricia Bessette
Review Date: May 23, 2011

Nine-year-old Katie Jordan lives with her dad and three-year-old brother, Tyler. This year, instead of celebrating Thanksgiving in their traditional way by eating pizza in their pajamas, Katie wants to create the perfect holiday and be just like a "real" family. But by Thanksgiving Day, Katie has invited guests Dad didn't expect, festooned the house with what may be poison oak, set the sweet potatoes on fire, and forced her little brother to face a dreadful turkey monster by himself. At the end, however, Katie, her family, and her guests sit down to a most unusual dinner—one that succeeds because it comes more from the heart than from fancy decorations and elaborate menus (Albert Whitman & Company).

What an enjoyable read! Turkey Monsters at Thanksgiving by Anne Warren Smith draws you in from the very beginning of the first chapter and keeps you reading right through to the very end! Will Katie’s Thanksgiving be a disaster? Will she have a Thanksgiving like a “real” family? Who or what is the actual “Turkey Monster?”

Smith creates believable characters that readers can connect easily with. I was glad to learn that this book is the first in a series because it is evident that these characters have more to do and say!

The suggested grade/age levels varied between second and sixth grade, listed as an ATOS level of 3.2.

From a teacher’s perspective, I believe it would make a great read aloud for first and second graders. Turkey Monsters at Thanksgiving is only 112 pages, 13,964 words and judging by the vocabulary level, this book could be read independently by high second graders to very low fifth graders. Interest level range, in my opinion, is late first through early fifth grades. However, I don’t feel that savvy fifth and sixth graders would be drawn to Turkey Monsters at Thanksgiving.

Due to the topic of divorce and families in Turkey Monsters at Thanksgiving, it would promote discussion/conversation to help children process this subject matter and would be perfect for a guided reading group selection. I thoroughly enjoyed Turkey Monsters at Thanksgiving. I highly recommend this to parents dealing with separation or divorce.

My advanced digital edition of Turkey Monsters at Thanksgiving was received through NetGalley.

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