A troupe of troublesome turkeys is transformed by two tenacious trainers in this alliterative debut for early readers.
Every year, the king of Yummy-Yummy Land looks forward to choosing the tenderest turkey at his turkey ranch for the annual Royal Feast. But as the story opens, he discovers that the turkeys are terribly ill-mannered and unkempt to boot. On the advice of his wise owl sidekick Sir Who, he decides to hire some trainers to whip the turkeys into shape. Specifically, he selects Tillie, a tender turkey with very polite manners and a large heart, and a donkey named Pokey, whom Tillie considers “a friend who is kind and treats [her] tenderly.” (Sir Who notes, “We all become the way we are treated!”) With the help of three other turkey trainers—Timothy Tuxedo, a penguin; Tippy-Toes TuTu, a flamingo; and Tennessee Tyler, a horse—Tillie and Pokey help the turkeys understand that the key to being tender is to always look, do and be one’s very best. After successfully training them, Pokey worries that Tillie and the turkeys have been invited not to eat dinner, but to be dinner. Thankfully, after some amusing high jinks, the tale has a happy ending. The story told here originally began as an ongoing puppet show that retired teacher Walker and her co-worker used to share with their students, and it reflects its origins in its larger-than-life, silly characters and episodic narration. The real fun is not in the story, nor even in its lesson that being loved helps people become better at showing love, but in the frequent alliterative, rhyming phrases sprinkled throughout the text. Independent young readers will enjoy the twisty sentences (“Pokey and Tillie tapped their toes as they watched the turkeys twirl to the tunes”) and repeated catchphrases (“ ‘Okey dokey!’said Pokey”). The cartoonlike illustrations have plenty of child appeal, but the amount of text per page may be best suited to confident, independent readers.
A clever take on the golden rule that will amuse children who like reading tongue twisters aloud.