The Great Turkey Walk by Kathleen KarrThe Great Turkey Walk by Kathleen Karr

The Great Turkey Walk

byKathleen Karr

Paperback | September 1, 2000

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Yeeeeeee-haw! Git along, little . . . turkeys?

Big, brawny Simon Green, who's just completed third grade (for the fourth time), may not be book smart, but he's nobody's fool. When it's time to be done with school and make his way in the world, Simon hatches a plan that could earn him a bundle. He intends to herd a huge flock of bronze turkeysall the way from his home in eastern Missouri to the boomtown of Denver, where they'll fetch a mighty price. In the year 1860, the hazards of such a trek are many - how does one shepherd the birds across a river, for instance? - but Simon is undaunted. Accompanied by a faithful drover, and eventually to be joined by two boon companions, he undertakes the biggest journey of his young life, in this high-spirited Wild Wild West adventure by an acclaimed author of historical fiction.

Kathleen Karr is the author of many novels for young readers, most recently Man of the Family. She lives with her family in Washington, D.C.
Title:The Great Turkey WalkFormat:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 7.71 × 5.15 × 0.52 inPublished:September 1, 2000Publisher:Square FishLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0374427984

ISBN - 13:9780374427986

Appropriate for ages: 9 - 12


Rated 4 out of 5 by from It was a fun read-aloud! My children & I really enjoyed it! I read this historical fiction novel to my children, which takes place in 1860 before the Civil War. Simon Green is a 15 year-old boy, whose parents are deceased. He has been raised by his aunt and uncle, and they never let him forget what a burden it is for them to have to have an extra mouth to feed. He is slightly dimwitted, being the oldest boy in the one-room schoolhouse and having taken Grade 3 four times. The teacher, Miss Rogers, is not much older than he is! At the end of the school year, she takes Simon aside and tells him that she believes that it is time for him to move on and that she must graduate him and wishes him well. Simon wonders what he shall do with his time, now that he no longer has school to attend. He comes up with a brilliant plan after speaking with Mr. Buffey, who tells him that turkeys fetch $5 a head in Denver because food is in short supply. Simon reasons that if he buys 1,000 turkeys for $0.25 a head in Union, Missouri and walks them to Denver, Colorado and sells them for $5 a head, he will make a profit of $4,750. It’s a great idea, but only if he can make it work. He excitedly speaks with Miss Rogers about his plan, and she decides to invest in his business proposal. This gives him the financial backing that he needs in order to buy the turkeys from Mr. Buffey. Along the way to Denver, Simon encounters a reformed alcoholic named Mr. Peece and his dog named Emmett, a slave boy named Jabeth, and a teenage girl named Lizzie who has gone a bit mad after the deaths of her parents and siblings. The unlikely quartet become somewhat of a family of their own, and Simon graciously includes the trio as business partners and agrees to split his profit after repaying Miss Rogers her loan plus 10% of her share in the revenue. The Great Turkey Walk is a fun adventure, and Simon’s business plan proves that no one gave the boy enough credit. We really enjoyed how Simon proved everyone wrong. He is very kind-hearted and thoughtful, as well as street-savvy.
Date published: 2013-07-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Fun Wild West Adventure Reason for Reading: Read aloud to the 9yo to go along with our history studies. Summary: Set in 1860, the book starts with 15-year-old Simon Green being politely graduated from school and told to go find his place in the world. Simon is quite taken aback, as he has just finished third grade for the fourth time and he'd figured on being in school quite some time to get the rest of the grades completed. Simple-minded Simon comes upon a plan to walk a flock of a thousand turkeys from his hometown in Missouri, where he can purchase them for two bits a head, all the way to Denver where they say turkeys will go for five dollars a head. The story follows him on his Wild West adventure across the country making friends and escaping dangers along the way. Comment: This was a fun book to read aloud! Written in Simon's voice: a frontier, uneducated drawl with most of the other character's following suit. While Simon may be simple-minded he isn't as stupid as the folks back home think he is. He's a quick judge of a man's character and he's got a lot of honest to goodness common sense and these prove him well on his business venture. I enjoyed the book, the adventures they got caught up in were a riot and the runaway slave boy they meet up with and take with them as they head north also adds some varying points of view of the time period covered in the book. The author's note at the end explains how she based her story on similar events that really happened. My son on the other hand was only so-so about the book. He even said at one point that he didn't like it, but whenever we were reading it he was laughing and having a good time. The story just didn't hold with him when we were away from it. I think it would have benefited from illustrations, even just one line drawing per chapter. Ds usually likes these wild west types of stories and it's hard for me to pinpoint exactly what he didn't connect with in this one but I'm thinking the age of Simon had something to do with it, even though Simon was mentally younger than his age. So, I'm thinking the most appreciative age for this book is going to be ten and overs.
Date published: 2009-12-29

Editorial Reviews

"Readers will gobble up Karr's hilarious novel of a boy who resolves to walk 1000 turkeys from the Show-Me state to Denver, Colorado. Simon, who's 15 and newly graduated from the thrid grade, may not be too bright, but he figures he can make his fortune by buying Mr. Buffey's brinze turkeys for a quarter apiece and selling them in Denver for $5 each...The gifted Karr has a cheerful, sassy down-home writing style and a perfect pitch for dialogue." -Starred, Publishers Weekly"Full of good humor and page-turning quest-style events...This novel begs to be read aloud." -Starred, School Library Journal"A wide-open western epic, inspired by actual drives and featuring a cast of capable young people." -Kirkus Reviews