cover image Turkey in the Straw

Turkey in the Straw

Barbara Shook Hazen. Dial Books, $13.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-1298-0

``Once there was a farmer who was a born fiddler, and his wife who was a born worrier.'' The more the wife nags, the more her indifferent husband fiddles. All the while, their shy, fidgety daughter taps her feet, twists her hair and strokes her pet turkey. When the family's farm is threatened and the daughter's future looms as empty as their barn, the unprepared fiddler responds by doing what he does best. He holds a country dance that spins a thread of good fortune when the turkey kicks up the straw, ``waddles wagging, feathers flapping--in time to the music.'' In this folkloric fling with a favorite American tune, Hazen's ( Tight Times ) lively text, imbued with the rhythm of dance-call phrases, is as friendly and carefree as a do-si-do. Sneed's watercolors, with their tilted perspectives and sharp planes, visually echo the carefree, syncopated tune. As the pictorial rhythm builds to accompany the wild dance gestures, the illustrations lead the reader into the story's happy ending without missing a beat. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)