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Authors: Anne Warren Smith

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BOOK: Turkey Monster Thanksgiving
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“Sounds like heaven.” He handed me a package of orange paper napkins. “These go next to the forks.”

At eleven-thirty, Tyler ate his lunch under the table. Then, Dad tucked him in for his nap.

“Soon as I wake up,” Tyler told us, “I’m going to do it.”

“Do what?” Dad asked.

Tyler pointed across the street and shivered. “Tame him!”

Chapter 18
Big Trouble

bed, Dad and I followed the directions on the turkey wrapper and stuck the huge, cold thing into the oven. “Cross your fingers that it cooks in time,” Dad said.

Then we set out plates and glasses.

“Go easy on Tyler,” Dad said. “He’s only three, you know.”

I suddenly remembered saying the same thing to Claire a couple of weeks ago. Had I gotten like her? Always pointing out the bad things? “I’m afraid Ms. Morgan will throw up when she sees him eat,” I said.

“She won’t throw up,” Dad said. “He’s a pretty cute kid.”

“He’s being brave about that turkey in the Plummers’ yard,” I said. “He says he’s going to tame it.”

“I wonder what he means.” Dad yawned. “I’m going to shower and take a nap.” He disappeared into his bedroom.

I made the appetizers while Dad’s shower ran. Every few minutes I flicked on the oven light. The turkey still looked stiff. As I put the appetizers on a plate, I hoped they were pretty enough. But I hardly cared any more. I shoved them into the refrigerator and went to stare at the turkey. It was browning a little.

At two-thirty, Dad came into the kitchen to check the turkey. “It won’t be ready in time,” he said as he tried to poke a fork into it. “We could tell them to come later, but there’s no way to phone Mr. Flagstaff. He’s in that meeting.”

Trouble filled my chest and made me want to cry. “They’ll be here in half an hour,” I wailed.

Dad grabbed the phone book and flipped pages. “A restaurant,” he muttered. Then, he tossed the phone book into the drawer. “We’d never get a reservation now. There’s got to be cooked turkey at the store.” He jingled his car keys at me. “Get Tyler up and dressed. If our company comes, give them appetizers.”

As he left, I put the plate of appetizers on the coffee table and ran to Tyler’s room, “Tyler?” I said.

No answer.

I shoved all the stuffed animals onto the floor.

The bed was empty. Tyler was gone.

Chapter 19
Where Did the Treasures Go?

the house. I grabbed my jacket and ran out the front door. Cars lined both sides of our street. Of course! Claire’s company had come.

Had Tyler gone to tame the turkey? He knew better than to cross the street by himself. Didn’t he?

I suddenly remembered how he liked to hold my hand when he was scared. “Tyler,” I called. “I’m coming! I’ll help you.” Tears filled my eyes as I ran across the street. On Claire’s front lawn, something glittered at me. I picked it up. A truffle. I stuck it in my pocket.

Just then, Claire’s front door opened. About a hundred people came out. Mr. Plummer was with them. He blew a whistle and a strange gobble sound came out of it. “Treasure hunt time,” he announced. “Gobble, gobble.”

I hid behind the turkey.

“What a clever idea,” a lady in a purple hat said. She came down the porch steps, looking into the gourds and squashes for treasures.

But this would take too long. I had to find Tyler. I stood up. “My little brother is lost,” I said to the purple hat lady. “Please look for him while you look for the treasures.”

Claire lifted her blue Pilgrim skirts and flounced down the steps. “You’re not supposed to be here,” she said.

“Tyler’s out somewhere by himself.” I swallowed a sob. “He needs me.”

“I’m sure he’s not here.” Claire straightened her Pilgrim hat and tightened the blue bow under her chin. “We didn’t invite him, remember?”

“Here’s one,” someone said.

“I give up,” said a tall man.

“Look what I found.” Purple Hat held out a blue bowl. “It’s full of unpopped popcorn,” she said, “It was in front of that wooden turkey.”

I ran to her. “That’s our bowl! Tyler
been here!”

Just then the Pilgrim lady on the porch swing began to move. All eyes turned to watch. “It’s turkey food,” a little voice said. “Put it back.”

I ran onto the porch as Tyler crawled out from under the Pilgrim lady’s wide skirts. I wrapped my arms around him. “Are you okay?”

“I brought him popcorn,” Tyler whispered to me. “He’s tame now. I know he’s tame. He laid eggs for me.”

“At least we found a lost child.” Claire’s dad held the door open for all his company. “Maybe the birds got some of the truffles. We hid a lot of them.”

“Doesn’t matter,” the tall man said. “This is a great party. Thanks to you and Claire.”

Claire fluffed her skirts and pranced up the porch steps as Tyler set our blue bowl of popcorn in front of the turkey.

“He didn’t lay eggs,” I told him. “He can’t. He’s not real.”

Just then a car drove slowly down the street and pulled into our driveway. Ms. Morgan!

My stomach churned. My party was starting. I wasn’t ready.

Chapter 20
Poison Oak!

called to Tyler. “Come on!”

Claire spun around. “Who’s here?” She grabbed her skirts and raced after us.

“Happy Thanksgiving!” Ms. Morgan said. She stepped out of her car and reached back in for a package.

Ms. Morgan
is your company?” Claire stared at me, an angry look on her face.

Ms. Morgan turned back to us, holding her pies. “Apple and pumpkin,” she said. “Hello, Claire. I didn’t realize you lived right across the street from Katie.”

“You should be coming to MY house,” Claire said. “Not to hers.”

Ms. Morgan put her finger to her lips. Then she looked up and down the street. “Just look at your beautiful porches,” she said. “You’ve turned your street into a Thanksgiving celebration.”

Claire and I stopped glaring at each other.

“Thank you,” we both said.

“We have a ton of people,” Claire told Ms. Morgan. “One lady said our party should be in the newspaper.”

“I believe it,” Ms. Morgan answered. “I see you’re wearing a Pilgrim costume, Claire. Very nice.”

“I’m glad you like it.” Claire lifted her skirts and turned slowly around.

My clothes! I looked down at my jeans and soggy tennis shoes. Nothing was turning out right. And why wasn’t Dad back yet with the turkey?

As Claire ran back to her house, Tyler dragged Ms. Morgan and her pies onto our porch.

She looked back at me and smiled. “I love these vines,” she said. She lifted her hand and reached toward the green leaves.

“Don’t … touch!” I said.

“I’ll be very careful.” Ms. Morgan brushed her hand gently down along the leaves. “So pretty,” she said.

And then she brushed her hand back up. I couldn’t speak. Ms. Morgan was a goner.

“Wash it off!” I finally gasped, but by then, Tyler had pulled her through the door, and she didn’t hear me.

I started up the porch steps. Ms. Morgan was going to hate me. I would never, ever live this down.

I heard a car coming. Our car.

I ran back toward the driveway and watched Dad park behind Ms. Morgan’s car. Now we’d have a turkey. Brown and beautiful like the ones in the magazines. The turkey would fix everything.

But Dad opened his door and held up his hands. They were empty.

Chapter 21
The Last Great Idea

“Half the stores were closed. The others had no turkey. It’s all sold out.” He stepped out of the car and sagged against it. “What a disaster!”

“Hello,” someone called. Mr. Flagstaff strode down the walk. He grabbed Dad’s hand and pumped it up and down. “They said the report was well organized and very detailed.” Mr. Flagstaff’s gray eyebrows arched up in happy lines.

“Come on, Mr. Friend,” Tyler shouted from the front door. “Come and play with us.”

Mr. Flagstaff hurried toward the porch. “Okay if I go right in?”

“Watch out for …” I started to say, but Mr. Flagstaff had gone.

“What out for what?” Dad asked.

“Claire says the festoons are poison oak. Ms. Morgan touched them! She’s going to get a rash!”

Dad strode up the steps and looked at the leaves. “This is ornamental ivy.”

My eyes filled with tears of relief. “Are you sure?”

“I know ornamental ivy when I see it,” Dad said. “No question about it.”

“But Claire said—”

He glanced across the street and looked back at me. “Your decorations are fine. They look wonderful.”

“Just a minute,” someone called. We turned to see Claire and her dad coming out their front door. They raced across the street.

“Have to be quick,” Mr. Plummer said, looking at his watch. “Our company is filling their plates. I imagine your turkey’s still not cooked. No way it could be.” He swallowed and looked again at his watch. “Claire thought you might bring Ms. Morgan to our house. And you’d come, too, of course. Join us for dinner. Ahem. Tyler, too.”

Claire wrinkled her nose. “We’ll put down lots of newspapers.”

“That’s a nice invitation,” Dad said. “But we have two guests. My employer, Mr. Flagstaff, is also here.”

“I’m sure they’d rather be at our house,” Claire said. “Everyone really likes it.”

“Our house is okay, too,” I said. It really was. Dad looked down at me. “Except, we don’t have a …” Then he stopped.

“I have a great idea,” I said. I thought fast. My Cranberry Tower was a swamp. But it was delicious. My centerpiece was a truck. But it was pretty. Maybe the main thing—the turkey—could change, too. I nodded at Claire and put my hand into Dad’s. “We’ll be fine,” I said.

Dad looked at me and a little smile grew in his eyes. He turned to Mr. Plummer. “Katie’s thought of something,” he said.

As the Plummers went back home, Dad put his arm around me. “Honey,” he whispered, “What will we put on the big platter?”

“Pizza,” I said. “Your famous pizza.”

He yanked off his glasses and blinked his eyes. “I was hoping you’d say that!” He grabbed my hands and swung me up the porch steps.

Chapter 22
The Thanksgiving Platter

, Ms. Morgan, Mr. Flagstaff, and Tyler crept across the rug, piling more books under bridges. Trucks and buses waited in line to cross over them.

Tyler had filled his garbage truck with my appetizers. “Get your happy-tizers,” he said. Something else was in the truck, too. Shiny foil-wrapped things. Truffles! Lots of them!

“Turkey eggs,” Tyler said. “That turkey is sure my friend.”

I added my truffle to the pile. “That’s why nobody could find any.”

Dad cleared his throat. “I have an announcement,” he said. “The turkey isn’t ready.”

“We have something else to eat,” I said. “But it’s not made yet.”

“Could I help?” Ms. Morgan asked. “It would feel just like home.”

A few minutes later, we were all in the kitchen. Dad thawed bread dough in the microwave and took orders for pizza toppings. Soon the half-cooked turkey was out of the oven, and the pizza was in.

“We have lots more food, too,” Dad said. “Wait till you see Katie’s Cranberry Tower.”

“Ahem,” I said. “It’s really Cranberry Swamp.”

“Or maybe Cranberry Lakes,” Dad said. “It didn’t gel, but it’s delicious.”

I pulled the vegetables out of the refrigerator and handed them to Mr. Flagstaff.

“Let me be in charge of heating these.” Mr. Flagstaff carried them to the microwave. “My specialty,” he said, “is pushing buttons.”

“Get your happy-tizers,” Tyler kept saying as he drove his garbage truck from person to person. Then, he sang us a garbage truck appetizer song.

“That’s silly,” I started to say. But just in time, I remembered I didn’t want to sound like Claire. “Great song, Tyler,” I said.

“That song was for you, Katie,” Tyler said. “Because you came to save me from the monster.”

Dad smiled at me.

We poured sparkling cider into glasses. At last, we had almost everything on the table.

Mr. Flagstaff hoisted Tyler into his chair.

Ms. Morgan held her camera ready.

Tyler munched on centerpiece popcorn.

Dad marched in like a French waiter, holding a big platter high in the air. “My famous pizza,” he announced.

I held my breath. Goosebumps popped out on my arms. Thanksgiving dinner with no turkey? Was it really okay?

Mr. Flagstaff leaned forward and clapped his hands. “Bravo!” he said. He rubbed his belly and sighed with happiness.

“We’re having a feast!” Ms. Morgan said. “I love pizza.” She snapped a photo of Dad. Then she snapped me putting a big spoon into the Cranberry Swamp.

“I’m so thankful,” she said as she sat back down, “to be with a real family today.”

Dad and I looked at each other.

“That’s us,” I said.

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this ebook onscreen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of the publisher.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Text copyright © 2003 by Anne Warren Smith

Cover illustration copyright © 2011 by Tuesday Mourning.

Designed by Lindaanne Donohoe


Published in 2005 by Albert Whitman & Company.

For more information about Albert Whitman & Company,

visit our website at

BOOK: Turkey Monster Thanksgiving
10.31Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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