Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Turkey Monster Thanksgiving

Turkey Monster Thanksgiving

Anne Warren Smith
For ages 8 to 10
Albert Whitman & Company, 2011   ISBN: 978-0807581261

Every year Katie, her little brother Tyler, and their father celebrate Thanksgiving in the same way. They wear pajamas until noon, eat popcorn and pizza, and watch football games on the TV. Katie is perfectly happy with her family Thanksgiving until Claire, the girl next door, tells her about how she and her father are celebrating Thanksgiving. Claire’s father is determined to put on a real Thanksgiving celebration with decorations, a feast, and lots of invitations. Claire makes it clear that she thinks that Katie and her family should do the same.

Though Katie tries not to be bothered by Claire’s words, she cannot help feeling that perhaps they should make more of an effort for Thanksgiving. She talks to her father about it, and he agrees that Katie can make decorations, that she can get dressed up, and that she can plan a more elaborate meal. One thing he insists on is that Katie does not invite anyone over. Maybe next year they can have “company,” but not this year.

After a particularly bad day, Katie announces that she has given up on arranging a proper Thanksgiving. She feels angry with her father for being unwilling to celebrate Thanksgiving with all the trimmings, she feels angry with her mother for going off to have a career as a singer, and she feels angry with Tyler for being a messy little boy.

Then Katie’s life gets really complicated. An invitation she never meant to give to her teacher ends up in the teacher’s hands and suddenly Katie has a guest coming to the house for Thanksgiving dinner. Now what is she going to do? She has no decorations, no meal planned, and her father told her that she couldn’t invite anyone over.

Getting ready for a big holiday can be stressful under normal circumstances, but in this story they are especially challenging for a little girl who really wants to have what she considers to be a “real family,” one living in a clean and neat house, and one that celebrates Thanksgiving with a big meal, decorations, and guests. With humor and sensitivity Anne Warren Smith shows us that families come in all shapes and sizes, as do holiday celebrations. So long as family members love one another and enjoy their festive days together that is all that really matters.