Gracias The Thanksgiving Turkey

by Joy Cowley

Other authorsJoe Cepeda (Illustrator)
Paperback, 1998



Local notes

394.264 9 Cow




Scholastic en Espanol (1998), 32 pages


Trouble ensues when Papa gets Miguel a turkey to fatten up for Thanksgiving and Miguel develops an attachment to it.


Original language


Physical description

32 p.; 8.75 inches

Media reviews

School Library Journal
K-Gr 2 -- Miguel, a Puerto Rican boy in New York City, receives a surprise package from his absentee truck-driving father-a gigantic wooden crate with the message: "Fatten this turkey for Thanksgiving. ..." What ensues is a humorous story of Miguel's increasing attachment to the bird he nicknames
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Gracias. ... This picture book, illustrated with colorful oil paintings, offers a heartwarming narrative that captures the boy's close-knit sense of community and family.
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3 more
Miguel has two worries about Thanksgiving: Will his Papa, a trucker, make it home in time? And will his pet turkey become the entree? ... [Illustrator Cepeda] captures the story's sunny disposition with gaily composed, Latin-flavored oil paintings.
... Papa sends Miguel a turkey to fatten for Thanksgiving, but the boy names the bird Gracias and loves him as a pet. ... Cowley creates a distinctive, modern setting for the old theme of a turkey who sits at rather than on the Thanksgiving table. Although city life is not idealized (at one point a
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thief steals Gracias), most of the neighbors in Miguel's multiethnic community take a friendly interest in the boy and his bird. The inclusion of Spanish words within the text is handled well.... Cepeda's oil paintings, reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keats' illustrations, vividly create Miguel's colorful, sympathetic community as well as individual characters.
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Library Talk
... [This book] might influence a reader's preference for holiday dinners. Miguel, who lives with his grandparents and aunt, receives a live turkey as a surprise gift from his father. ... The turkey, named Gracias, quickly becomes a pet for the lonely boy, keeping him busy and worried about its
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safety. ... The ending is satisfying as the turkey has its own place at the table, with a plate of combread, when the 18-wheeler rolls up. This unusual Thanksgiving story provides a gentle reminder of the many things--and relationships--for which we can be thankful.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member jrjohnson1
Miguel's father sent him a turkey to fatten up until Thanksgiving. This book uses so spanish words in it. This is a good book and has good illustrations.
LibraryThing member Randalea
This is a standard at the beginning of the year for classes with ELLs. It could also be titled No Taste for Turkey! When Miguel receives a live turkey as a gift he becomes too attached to the gift to eat it. Fun for all with a glossary of spanish terms which are integrated throughout.
LibraryThing member crisoneg
Such a cute story about a hispanic family living in NYC that is not 100% sure how to go about celebrating the American holiday- Thanksgiving!
LibraryThing member Ebutzn1
I think “Gracias The Thanksgiving Turkey” was a sweet book that showed a young boy’s love for his new pet turkey. One thing I particularly liked was the writing and language of the text. Beginning Spanish vocabulary was incorporated periodically within the text. Many family words were
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included, such as abuela, abuelo, amiga, tia, mama, papa, etc. Thus, this book is a useful tool to help introduce the Spanish language to students. At the end of the book, too, there is a glossary defining all the Spanish terms the author used. I also enjoyed reading about the main character, Miguel, and his obsession with the Thanksgiving turkey. Although his family was supposed to cook and eat the turkey on Thanksgiving, Miguel became attached and referred to her as his amiga. Instead of eating her, he took her for walks and often cleaned her, treating her as a pet and a best friend. I think many children can relate to Miguel as they develop a desire for animals. The central message of this story is based upon friendship and the Hispanic culture.
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LibraryThing member wichitafriendsschool
When Papa sends a turkey to be fattened up for Thanksgiving, Miguel takes a liking to the friendly bird. Soon, Miguel and Gracias are going everywhere together. But Gracias isn't a pet-he's supposed to be a meal! With a little help from Abuelito, Abuelita, and Tia Rosa ((implement accents)), will
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Miguel be able to keep Gracias off the Thanksgiving table?
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LibraryThing member lycomayflower
When Miguel's father sends him a turkey to fatten up for Thanksgiving dinner, Miguel takes on the task--no easy feat in New York City--but starts to love the turkey as a pet. Light angst about the fate of the turkey ensues. This story didn't do a whole lot for me, although the depiction (mostly
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coming through in the illustrations) of Miguel's sense of family and community in a diverse environment was nice.
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½ (19 ratings; 3.9)
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