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|Author and Illustrator: Cathryn Falwell
Retail Price: Paperback • $8.95 | Hardback • $16.95
Arrow-shaped footprints lead a young backyard naturalist to a flock of funny-looking birds with big strong feet: Wild Turkeys! Once nearly extinct, these comical critters now gobble their way across North America. Follow Jenny through a year of enchantment as she shares her discovery of these wonderful birds. Gobble, gobble! Jenny wrote a journal, too, with lots of fascinating stuff about a distinctly American bird. Although it once numbered in the millions, wild turkeys nearly disappeared with over-hunting and habitat destruction, but are now making a comeback. The unique illustrations are block prints over collages. The collages are made from cut and torn paper plus all sorts of things from nature – bark, leaves, feathers, even wasp nests! Falwell also offers tips for children to make their own cut-paper pictures and how to keep a nature journal.
Educators: download free activities based on this book on our activities page.
- 2011 Mom’s Choice Gold Award (Children’s Picture Book Category)
- 2012 Purple Dragon Book Award – Honorable Mention (Children’s Picture Book – Ages 5-)
“After discovering a flock of turkeys in her yard in the spring, Jenny continues to watch them throughout the year.
With a simple text, mostly rhyming couplets, the young nature watcher describes the turkeys’ appearance and behavior as they nest and raise their young in the woods nearby. She notes particularly how they walk and fly. “Toms strut and puff to look their best.” In a departure from her previous straight collage work (Scoot, 2008, and others), Falwell augments her multi-media (cut and torn paper and found natural materials) images with overlaid block prints. Leaf prints add further texture. These charming illustrations also show other animals, including deer, chickadees, cardinals and squirrels. Plants and trees are recognizable as those of the author-illustrator’s Maine world, and seasons are indicated with a vignette underneath the text: apple blossoms, dandelion flower, red leaf, snow flake. Images of turkeys slipping on the frozen ground and the child’s imagined vision of them sliding down snowy hills add humor. The book concludes with “Jenny’s Journal,” straightforward exposition offering more facts about turkeys for older readers. As she’s done before, the author includes suggestions for artwork and other activities. An “Animal Tracks” puzzle provides an appealing conclusion.
Not just for Thanksgiving, this should be a welcome addition to nature shelves all year round.”
— Kirkus Reviews (July 15, 2011)
. . . Falwell’s collage illustrations include leaf prints and vibrantly capture the changing seasonal landscapes. An afterword, “Jenny’s Journal,” provides more facts about wild turkeys. This informational picture book will inspire young naturalists to explore their own surroundings.
— School Library Journal (December 2011)
“Imagine a Children’s Picture Book about turkeys and not a single mention of Thanksgiving! Gobble Gobble by author and illustrator Cathryn Falwell presents a factual and beautifully detailed book describing mostly North America’s distinctive wild turkeys. The text is engagingly simple and well written and the rhymes fascinate and instruct. Adults will love this book as much as the little ones.
The opening tells of spring. Birds and deer, creatures of the forest, are intrigued when they notice huge claw prints.
Spring is here! Arrows mark the muddy ground
Striped brown feathers are all around.
What’s that funny gobbling sound?
Jenny and her family live in a woodland area cottage. Readers study along as she observes the flocks of wild birds during the progression of the seasons. In spring, the males—turkey toms—strut and puff, while the females—turkey hens—make shallow nests. In summer, the turkey babies hatch, and in autumn the big birds crunch in the red and gold leaves. During winter they leave turkey tracks in the snow and also roost in the trees.
Gorgeous wild turkey scenes come to life by interaction with Jenny, her playmates, and her dog, Max. Deer, birds, butterflies, and the trees that change with each season provide a backdrop for the story of the wild creatures.
The back of the book is filled with information about turkeys—wild and domestic. Jenny’s Journal highlights her research about the big birds at the public library; Jenny’s Fun Things to Do suggests artful ways to learn about turkeys; and Animal Tracks has a picture puzzle of footprints made by different animals and challenges readers to identify them.
Cathryn Falwell creates a highly enjoyable learning experience in Gobble Gobble. The drawings are fabulous with amazing detail and the large-scale illustrations, bright with color and black-bordered pages, make distinctive framed prints. Falwell instills love and understanding of wild life and its surroundings, a talented artist who strives to inspire and connect children with nature.”
— ForeWord Reviews – Mary Popham (October 2011)
“Dawn Publications is committed to helping young people develop a connection to the earth and the many species who live here. Cathryn Falwell’s lively poem and energetic illustrations make a valuable contribution toward that goal. The story follows a young girl’s observation of wild turkeys through the seasons. We learn about these uniquely American birds with her, as she watches, tracks, and studies them. Falwell’s illustrations show us her wonder, joy, and surprise at her discoveries. They also bring the forest to life. As readers move through the pages of the book, they will be immersed in the activity of the turkeys and other animals. This is a great gift item that will capture the imagination of young readers and bring a smile to the faces of adults as well.”
— New Age Retailer – Anna Jedrziewski (December 2011)