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Turkey Monster Thanksgiving

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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You Can Change The World

31 Ways to Change the World (Candlewick Press, $8.99, ages 8-12) is reviewed today by Debbie Glade.

0763645060med31 Ways to Change the World is the result of suggestions from thousands of children. The theory is that “Small Actions x Lots of People = Big Change.” Inside this ultra colorful and busy book are 31 really cute and crafty, yet simple actions we can take every day to make the world a better place to live. I love that the book teaches kids about consumption, waste and preservation, plus treating others well. For example, Action #11 teaches you to the love the stuff you already have. Other actions include teaching your granny to text, giving people compliments, taking shorter showers and not starting a war. Hey, maybe this book should be for adults too. In any event, the premise of 31 Ways to Change the World is all for the greater good, and it really is clever. I’m sending my copy to my daughter, who is a freshman in college. I know she’s going to love it. She’ll particularly enjoy Action #25, which is “Talk Trash to Your Parents.”

debbieglade1Debbie Glade, today’s guest reviewer, is the author, illustrator and voice talent of the award-winning children’s picture book The Travel Adventures of Lilly P Badilly: Costa Rica, published by Smart Poodle Publishing. She visits South Florida schools with her reading, writing and geography programs. For years, Debbie was a travel writer for luxury cruise lines. She writes parenting articles for various websites and is the Geography Awareness Editor for She blogs daily at

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