Every year just before Thanksgiving, a plump turkey disappears from Felicia Ferguson's farm. This year, Thelonius
Turkey is the last of his kind in the barnyard, and when
Felicia starts feeding him three full meals of special seeds
a day and plucking feathers from him (the better to see his
size, he worries) in the weeks before T-Day, Thelonius decides that he's not going to the chopping block without a fight.
Thelonius sets in motion a rebellion worthy of (but loads funnier than) Animal Farm as the week-before-Thanksgiving countdown begins, enlisting the help of his willing farmyard comrades. He hooks up the cow to Felicia's house's plumbing, making sure she gets an "udderly" surprising shower. He paints a nice "Pinch Me" sign to attach to Felicia's back (the geese all know how to read), hides the pigs in her bed ("PEE-U!"), hard-boils the chickens' eggs, even creates a convincing thunderstorm to keep Felicia awake at night (and hopefully overslept on Thanksgiving morning) involving a garden hose aimed at her bedroom window and a clomping horse on the roof.
But plucky Felicia is undaunted, and on Thanksgiving Eve morning loads Thelonius into the pickup truck to "show [him] the new block in town." Thelonius despairs as they pull up to a brick building from which clanks, whirrs and buzzing sounds emit.
Quelle surprise! He's been brought to "Felicia Ferguson's Fashion Factory" to see firsthand what all that plucking has been about, and Thelonius is delighted to find that his tailfeathers have been used to decorate gorgeous hats worn by people all over the world. To celebrate, Thelonius prepares a Thanksgiving Day feast for Felicia and the other animals - carrots, peas, mashed taters, deviled eggs, corn, pumpkin pie (could that be some sort of mystery meat on Felicia's plate?) - so they can all stuff themselves and give thanks.
Reed's crazed illustrations and lettering are a lively combination of primitive painting and collage, mostly fun in a "Where's Waldo" kind of way but occasionally distracting and making the text difficult to follow.
Any complaints are forgiven, though, with the inclusion of two kid-friendly (but parent-necessary) recipes, for Thelonius Feather Cookies and "Life is Sweet" Potatoes with Marshmallow Casserole. Kids can help make a contribution to their own family meal and, with any luck, get a too-stuffed-to-move grown-up to re-read them Thelonius Turkey Lives! as their tummies settle