Friday, November 19, 2010

Gobble? Over the River: A Turkey's Tale by Derek Anderson



But these prospective holiday feasters are no nineteen-century visitors looking forward to this year's version of Grandma's roasted turkey recipe. These trippers are turkeys themselves--Ma, Pa, and Baby Turkey, and the horse? Well, he "knows the way to carry the sleigh," all right, as he picks up his sled and "carries" it through the snow.

No further hints are needed to let the reader know that this is no ordinary run-through of Child's classic Thanksgiving lyrics. While trudging along o'er the snow, the turkey three meet up with the aforesaid horse and with a boy and his large, semi-scary-looking dog, who seem to be intent on making them his Thanksgiving dinner, and the chase is on!

In Derek Anderson's Over the River: A Turkey's Tale (Simon & Schuster) the fun is all in the contrast between the familiar staid lyrics of an old-fashioned visit to grandmother's, as portrayed by Anderson's Pilgrim-clad and portly turkeys, the little one looking not unlike the young Woody Allen, bespectacled and clutching his Pilgrim rag doll, fleeing through the woods in a melee of feathers and turkey feet from their supposed pursuers.

At the end, of course, theirs is a happy ending, with a fine vegetarian holiday feast for all, even the horse--"FOR THIS IS THANKSGIVING DAY!" It's a comic cartoon version with the best possible outcome for the turkeys, of course, and a few giggles for the reader as the hors d'oeuvre.

Serve this one as the appetizer for the real main course, perhaps Eve Bunting's savory A Turkey for Thanksgiving, Teresa Bateman's tasty A Plump and Perky Turkey, and Dav Pilkey's piquant and classic parody Twas The Night Before Thanksgiving (Bookshelf) for a full-fledged fillup of Turkey Day belly-laughs.

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