4 out of 4 stars
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Have you ever made one of those hand-shaped turkeys with your children? It's a simple arts and crafts project: you put your hand down on a piece of paper, draw an outline of your hand, pick your hand up, and then close the bottom of it with a curved line and you've got a silly-looking turkey for Thanksgiving! Better yet, it's something young kids can be proud of and display, it's easy to make, and it's customized by the shape of their own hand!
While I've made plenty of hand-shaped turkeys in my life, I never imagined a children's book would be based on them. The Purple Turkey: Being Different Is More Than Okay! by Marilyn Johnson Ed.D is a cute children's book that tells the story of Jimmy. Jimmy is a third-grader whose friends are very different from one another: their skin color, hair color, eye color, and even the amount of hair they have are all different! So when Jimmy's teacher gives them the assignment to make these crafty little turkeys, Jimmy decides that he wants to make a purple one.
I really liked the way that the differences between Jimmy's classmates and friends came into play in this story. The idea of "being different is more than okay" is especially terrific as it celebrates differences rather than merely saying that they exist. This theme merges with the turkey crafting when Jimmy's teacher gets upset that he didn't follow the rules. After a meeting with Jimmy's parents, she decides that there's nothing wrong with turkeys of different colors and celebrates his creativity. Because all of this takes place during Thanksgiving, the book also incorporates the importance of appreciating what one has. Jimmy's teacher shows her students the humongous list of things she's grateful for, and then the students realize that they could write huge lists too.
I also enjoyed the layout of the book. The Purple Turkey: Being Different Is More Than Okay! covers every inch of each page in color, and the semi-transparent backgrounds for the text make reading the words (mostly) easy to read. There were only a couple times I had to focus my eyes a bit to see what was written, but the sharp images more than make up for it. The book also includes a step-by-step guide to making one of these turkeys by showing readers how Jimmy made his own.
The only negative thing I saw about The Purple Turkey: Being Different Is More Than Okay! was that there were two sentences I had to re-read to understand what was being said. I didn't catch any grammatical errors at all, but one sentence could've been written a bit more clearly and the other seemed like the author slipped up and wrote the sentence in a third-person perspective instead of first-person. These two little things aren't enough to make me deduct a full star from the book's rating, leading me to award The Purple Turkey: Being Different Is More Than Okay! 4 out of 4 stars. It's something I'd recommend to any American parent who likes to do arts and crafts with their kid(s), as well as parents who want to show their kids that differences should be celebrated. People outside of America may not fully appreciate the concept of American Thanksgiving, so they may be less apt to want to pick this one up. However, parents may want to explain to their kids that if a teacher gives an assignment, students should follow the instructions; many teachers may not be as forgiving as Jimmy's teacher.
The Purple Turkey (children's book)
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