I am so glad I got the chance to read Turkey Monster Thanksgiving by Anne Warren Smith ($5.99, Albert Whitman & Company, ages 7-10) because, though originally published in 2003, the characters as well as the message of this book remain timeless. How important is celebrating this annual holiday as society dictates? While my parents were not divorced, it was never as big a tradition to have a turkey dinner as it was simply to be together. In fact I recall quite a few Chinese restaurant visits over the years which suited my family just fine!

Katie Jordan is a 9-year-old whose dad is divorced and deadline-plagued, and whose 3-year-old brother, Tyler, is a mess-making machine. Mom left the family to pursue a solo singing career in the world of country and western music, but still sees her children when her schedule permits. Claire Plummer, Katie’s acquaintance (because though they walked to school together, Katie did not consider Little Miss Perfect a friend), was planning a big to-do with her dad for Thanksgiving. They were inviting 40 guests and doing things according to the book, or in this case Beautiful Living magazine because, since her mother died, Claire and her dad continued all the traditions begun by Mrs. Plummer. The countdown until Thanksgiving had officially begun.

Katie’s family, on the other hand, spent Thanksgiving in their pajamas and ate pizza not turkey, just the way her dad liked it. Yet this year, Katie was itching to do a Plummer-style Thanksgiving, including inviting guests, something her dad was adamantly opposed to.

“It’s a good thing we’re not having Thanksgiving dinner, I shouted.  “How can anyone eat next to … that?” I pointed at Tyler. “He has peanut butter up his nose. I am going to throw up!”

Katie was in a panic and determined to get the holiday right,  find some guests to invite and make a spectacular meal, turkey included. But could she get it all done in time and still get it right? Tweens will be eager to read Turkey Monster Thanksgiving to find out how Katie fares and whether it’s feast or famine for her family’s holiday.

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