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The Great Turkey Walk: 10/23/11

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I grew up in a post World War II suburb. It was built over the course of twenty years (give or take). My house was finished in the mid 1960s and my grandmother's house was finished the year I was born. If I wanted to see nature I had to either hike into the canyons that separated the different neighborhoods or I had to go the beach or the mountains. Nature wasn't something that showed up in our backyards except for the odd rattle snake, opossum or skunk.

Where I live now, I'm in an area that defies categorization. It has urban elements, suburban elements and huge expanses of rural areas. Living right on the edge of where things to rural we share our yard and roadways with nature.

We have deer, owls, raccoons, turkey vultures and turkeys. The turkeys are the creatures we see the most often. There's a flock that lives behind the local elementary school.

So you can understand my interest in reading The Great Turkey Walk by Kathleen Karr. It's a historical fiction about a young man who buys the excess turkeys to walk them across the prairies to Denver where there was a high demand for fresh meat and poultry.

I've read other stories like this but usually the animals being herded to market are cattle. Reading about the special tenacity needed to convince a flock of turkeys to walk that distance was fascinating. It was also funny and heart warming.

Along the way the main character meets up with an escaped slave and a young woman left orphaned after her entire family died from fever caught out on their prairie homestead. Each person who joins the walk has a unique skill to help make the enterprise a success.

Four stars.

Comments (4)

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Comment #1: Monday, October, 24, 2011 at 10:08:31

Julie @ My Book Retreat

This sounds like an interesting book. What age would you say it's good for? Did you read it to your kids or did they read it?

Comment #2: Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 11:18:00


I read it to myself. It's good for 4th grade and up.

Comment #3: Monday, October, 24, 2011 at 20:18:36


Always nice to read a story that hasn't been told elsewhere.

Comment #4: Saturday, October 29, 2011 at 11:24:01


It's definitely a unique story.

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