Albuquerque Turkey

adapted by E.G. Ford
illustrated by Lucinda McQueen

E.G. Ford's Albuquerque Turkey
illustrated by Lucinda McQueen

Children's book review by Sarah Denslow

Ages 3-8

Singing, reading, Thanksgiving children's book fun

At first glance, I thought “Albuquerque Turkey” would be a cute, fun book to share with my preschoolers. I thought they would like it, but I was wrong: they LOVED it. Pretty much all we hear about in class now is “Querque Turkey”, as they like to call him.

Just what is all the fuss about? Well, as the first page of the book explains,

cropped cover of Albuquerque Turkey book

is a turkey,
and he’s feathered
and he’s fine,
and he wobbles
and he gobbles
and he’s absolutely mine.

Part of the attraction here is clearly the wobbling; in addition to asking to hear this book, the kids also make sure we remember to wobble as we walk out to the playground.

The other thing the kids like is, of course, the fact that this is a book that we sing, to the tune of “My Darlin’ Clementine”. A number of versions of “Albuquerque Turkey” exist, with a few variations on the ending, although I had never heard of it before this book.

(Webmaster's note: This version of the song is by Rita Mizrahi Shamie.)

Ford lengthens the song to make it book length and describes some activities the owner and Albuquerque Turkey do together – going to the store, baking pies. But what will happen when the narrator starts peeling onions? Could they be for stuffing?

No! Of course not!

Albuquerque Turkey is all safely tucked in bed,
because for our Thanksgiving dinner
we have egg foo young instead.

While my toddlers are a bit too young to laugh at that last line, a few of them have seriously suggested to their parents that they too should have egg foo young for their Thanksgiving table.

Yes, that’s right: this book makes toddlers want to try new foods. That’s how much they love it.

My only negative comment about this book is that there are one or two places where the verse doesn’t quite match up to the original song, but a little tweaking of your own should be able to remedy this.

Nevertheless, it’s a small quibble. I would encourage everyone to share Albuquerque Turkey with a child they love as Thanksgiving approaches. Just be prepared for repeated requests for “Querque turkey”.

More great Thanksgiving books reviewed on this site.

Read more of Sarah's reviews.

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