A Turkey For Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting - Teaching Ideas

I love, love, love this Thanksgiving book! Mr. and Mrs Moose are having friends over for Thanksgiving and Mrs. Moose really wants a turkey for Thanksgiving. Mr. Moose tells his wife that he will go find a turkey, so he sets out and all his friends point him in the right direction. He finally finds Turkey and drags him back to the house. Turkey is so scared and nervous about Thanksgiving dinner. When Mr. Moose arrives home with Turkey, Mrs. Moose is over the moon with joy, and Turkey is even more nervous. You will just have to read the story for yourself to find out what happens to Turkey, but I can promise you, you will love the ending of this book as much a Turkey does.

I have created a comprehensive reading skills and strategies packet to go with this book. This packet will allow you and your students to do some meaningful work with this fabulous Thanksgiving story. If you want to create your own lesson, I hope the below information will help you out.

Reading level: 4.5
Theme: Thanksgiving
Genre: holiday fiction

Suggested Vocabulary: nuzzled, mist, riverbank, underbrush, bleat, blundered, lumbered, stammered

Phrases to explore: "Moose's warm breath hung white in front of him."  "Above them a crow hung, black as a puff of wood smoke."

Reading skills and strategies:
  • asking questions - {possible questions before} I wonder what the story is going to be about? {possible questions during} I wonder if they are going to eat Turkey? Why did Mr. Moose put his boot on Turkey's head?  {possible questions after} I wonder why Mr. Moose never said he was inviting Turkey to dinner instead of wanting Turkey for dinner.**Remember to have your students answer/reflect their questions.
  • author's point of view - 3rd person. Be sure to find 3 pieces of evidence to support this.
  • author's purpose - entertain {evidence} Animals don't talk and they never make Thanksgiving dinner. All the animals are sitting at the table like people which is just silly. All these things make the book very entertaining.
  • beginning, middle, end - {most important event from beginning} Mrs. Moose wanted a Turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. {most important event from middle} Mr. Moose went in search of a Turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.{most important event from end} Mr. Moose found a Turkey and brought him home for dinner, as a guest not the main course.
  • cause and effect - Why did Mr. Moose go out in search of a Turkey? because Mrs. Moose really wanted a Turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. Why did Turkey run from Mr. Moose? because he thought Mr. Moose was going to eat him for Thanksgiving dinner. Why did Mr. Moose hope Turkey did not have other plans for Thanksgiving? because he wanted him to come with him. Why did Mrs. Moose put out an extra chair? because she was hoping Mr. Moose would bring home a Turkey. Why did Turkey say "I thought you'd be worrying about how I'd taste."? Turkey thought they were going to eat him for Thanksgiving dinner.
  • character analysis - describe Mr. Moose, describe Turkey {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character}
  • classify & categorize - Things at your Thanksgiving dinner - food & guests.
  • compare & contrast - your Thanksgiving dinner to Mr. & Mrs. Moose's Thanksgiving dinner.
  • connections - {possible text-to-self connections} Having Thanksgiving dinner. Being thankful.
  • drawing conclusions & inferencing - Why do you think Turkey was so nervous to go with Mr. Moose? {text clues} Mrs. Moose said she wanted a turkey for dinner. Mr. Moose caught Turkey. Turkey had a sign up that said come back after Thanksgiving. {what I know} People usually eat turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner.  {my conclusion} I think Turkey was very nervous going with Mr. Moose because he thought they were going to eat him for dinner.
  • fact & opinion - {facts} Turkeys are birds. Turkeys have feathers. Turkeys eat nuts and seeds. Turkeys travel in flocks. Turkeys make a gobbling sound. {opinions} I love to eat turkey. Turkey is delicious. Turkeys are scary birds. I don't think turkeys can fly very good. I think turkeys would make good pets.
  • main idea & details - {main idea}Mr. Moose is finding a turkey for Mrs. Moose for Thanksgiving dinner. {details} Mr. Moose promised to find a turkey for Mrs. Moose. Rabbit, Mr. and Mrs. Goat and sheep all told Mr. Moose where to find Turkey. Mr. Moose brought Turkey back to the house for Thanksgiving dinner.
  • plot - the turning point or climax in the story is when Mrs. Moose offers Turkey the chair next to her. This is when Turkey realizes he is not going to be dinner, he is going to be a guest at dinner.
  • predict - What do you think this story is going to be about? Do you think Mr. Moose will find a turkey for Thanksgiving? What do you think Turkey is going to do now that he sees Mr. Moose and his friends coming? What is Mr. Moose going to do with Turkey now that he caught him? Do you think Turkey will come to Thanksgiving dinner from now on? Why do you think the author wrote the story to make us believe they were going to eat Turkey?
  • problem & solution - {problem} Mrs. Moose really wanted a turkey for Thanksgiving. {solution} Mr. Moose went out to find one, and he did.
  • sequencing - Mrs. Moose set the table for Thanksgiving. She really wanted a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. Mr. Moose told her he would get one. Rabbit joined Mr. Moose. Mr. and Mrs. Goat went too. Sheep pointed them in the direction of the turkey nest. Porcupine decided to stay put until they came back. They found Turkey in his next. Turkey ran. Turkey fell. Mr. Moose got Turkey and dragged him back to the house. Mrs. Moose was so excited to have Turkey for dinner. Mrs. Moose had Turkey sit right next to her. Turkey was so relieved.
  • story elements - list title, author, character's, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • strong thought - What would you do if you were Turkey and saw people coming for you?
  • summarize - {someone}Mrs. Moose {wanted} wanted a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner {so} so Mr. Moose said he would find one. He went in search of a turkey and with the help of his friends he {finally} finally found one and brought him home to dinner.
  • theme - Things may not always be what you think.
  • visualize - Visualize what Turkey is thinking when he sees Mr. Moose and all his friends.
Here is the packet I have created, included is:
* Vocabulary - 4 pages
* Asking Questions - 2 pages
* Author's Point of View- 1 page
* Beginning, Middle, End - 5 pages
* Cause and Effect - 6 pages
* Character Analysis - 4 pages
* Classify and Categorize "Things at a Thankgiving table"- 5 pages
* Compare and Contrast - 3 pages
* Connections - 5 pages
* Inference/Drawing Conclusion - 3 pages
* Fact and Opinion about bullying - 2 pages
* Main Idea and Details - 6 pages
* Predicting - 3 pages
* Problem and Solution - 5 pages
* Story Map - 3 pages
* Strong Thought - 2 pages
* Theme - 1 page
* Visualize and writing "Visualize What Turkey was thinking" - 3 pages
* We are thankful writing - 1 page
* Thanksgiving ABC order - 6 pages
* Beginning Letter color page - 1 page


Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. This was our reading story last week! I love this story too!

    1. Hi Cindy,
      Fun! I hope your kids enjoyed the story too!


Thoughts and comments are always welcome!