268. The Great Turkey Walk

The Great Turkey Walk by Kathleen Karr (Canada ) - (US)

Pages: 199 pgs.
Ages: 10+
Finished: Dec. 28, 2009
First Published: 1998
Genre: children, YA, historical fiction, humour
Rating: 3.5/5

First sentence:

I've always been fond of birds, poultry in particular.

Acquired: Received a copy through ILL.

Reason for Reading: Read aloud to the 9yo to go along with our history studies.

Summary: Set in 1860, the book starts with 15-year-old Simon Green being politely graduated from school and told to go find his place in the world. Simon is quite taken aback, as he has just finished third grade for the fourth time and he'd figured on being in school quite some time to get the rest of the grades completed. Simple-minded Simon comes upon a plan to walk a flock of a thousand turkeys from his hometown in Missouri, where he can purchase them for two bits a head, all the way to Denver where they say turkeys will go for five dollars a head. The story follows him on his Wild West adventure across the country making friends and escaping dangers along the way.

Comment: This was a fun book to read aloud! Written in Simon's voice: a frontier, uneducated drawl with most of the other character's following suit. While Simon may be simple-minded he isn't as stupid as the folks back home think he is. He's a quick judge of a man's character and he's got a lot of honest to goodness common sense and these prove him well on his business venture. I enjoyed the book, the adventures they got caught up in were a riot and the runaway slave boy they meet up with and take with them as they head north also adds some varying points of view of the time period covered in the book. The author's note at the end explains how she based her story on similar events that really happened.

My son on the other hand was only so-so about the book. He even said at one point that he didn't like it, but whenever we were reading it he was laughing and having a good time. The story just didn't hold with him when we were away from it. I think it would have benefited from illustrations, even just one line drawing per chapter. Ds usually likes these wild west types of stories and it's hard for me to pinpoint exactly what he didn't connect with in this one but I'm thinking the age of Simon had something to do with it, even though Simon was mentally younger than his age. So, I'm thinking the most appreciative age for this book is going to be ten and overs.


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