Thursday, December 8, 2011

5. The Money We'll Save

Written & illustrated by Brock Cole
Margaret Ferguson Books, 2011
$16.99, ages 4 and up, 40 pages

In this rollicking read-aloud, a cozy family of six attempts to room with a turkey while they plump him up for Christmas dinner.

But as feathers begin to fly, it's not clear who's getting the better of whom.

One afternoon Pa returns home from market with a brilliant way to save pennies for Christmas dinner.

He'll fatten up a turkey poult and keep it in a wooden box by the stove of their tenement apartment.

But with five children, himself and his wife packed inside, the family's flat is already feeling crowded.

And much to Ma's chagrin, the turkey doesn't like to keep to one spot, and soon, he's also much too big for his box.

Suddenly Alfred, their turkey, must be shifted somewhere else, but where do you put a boisterous young fowl?

It's up to Pa to find that somewhere else, but locating an empty spot in the tenement will require a bit of creativity.

The problem is, being clever isn't always enough -- every place Pa moves Alfred proves disastrous.

On the fire escape, neighbors up and down get a waft of him, and when he's strung out on the clothesline inside a crate, they get showered by droppings as they walk outside.

Poor widow Schumacher from upstairs can barely stand the clucking and smell, or so she says. She comes down to their flat three times a day just to complain.

And now with Christmas almost here, it's getting harder to think of Alfred as the centerpiece of Christmas dinner. 

Do they really want to butcher their friend? And if they don't, will dinner still be just as special?

And what about all that money they were going save -- not to mention, all of the trouble of keeping a pet turkey?

Once again, Broke Cole sweeps readers into a joyfully silly adventure, and leaves them smiling long after the last page.

Cole is also the author-illustrator of the acclaimed picture books, Good Enough to Eat and Buttons.

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