Review: When I Was A Turkey

I have to admit when I first saw this book when I was a turkey I thought what kind of a crazy character lives with turkeys, like seriously?!?!?!  And if I'm to be perfectly honestly, I didn't even want to read about it, who wants to read about crazy people?  I chose to read it anyways, and found, much to my surprise, he wasn't as crazy as I thought.  :)  Good thing eh?   AND I was so surprised by this book I talked about it with friends.  

As a wildlife photographer, for Joe Hutto, raising these turkeye gave him the perfect opportunity to become intimately aware of how turkeys live and gave him ample opportunity to take pictures that otherwise we wouldn't have.

Throughout this book you will find multiple pictures of turkeys in various stages of their life as well as pencil drawing of the turkeys and the wildlife and landscape surrounding them.

Joe says in the beginning of the book,
Nature always proves to be more interesting and complicated than we expect. As a naturalist and anthropologist., I am familiar with uncovering the science behind experiments in nature. What I didn't expect was finding such an intriguing new family among the wild turkeys; together we shared a world of excitement and wonder. This is my story. I hope you enjoy it.

It was interesting to read all he learned about turkeys.  Learning how they sleep, what they eat, how intelligent they were, and how they acted if separated from their family. He learned how integral he was to their well-being.  He learned to copy their speech and in doing so learning how varied it was, and that they are surprisingly sensitive to colour.

All in all I was very pleased with this book, even becoming sad as he lost some of his beloved turkeys, sometimes for reasons known (predation) or for reasons unknown.. when they died unexpectedly.   His horror when Turkey Boy, the bird closest to him decided he was a rival...and needing to beat him off to save his own life.  Joe became very bonded to these turkeys and it was hard for him when they matured and started to go their own way, neighbours letting him know when his hens started having poults. 

Joe learned much and showed us much in his two year adventure with the turkeys.   I can't say I still really understand his connection to them, but it was an interesting read, and I learned more about wild turkeys... which was the intent.  :)

When I was a Turkey
Joe Hutto with Brenda Z. Guiberson
Christy Ottaviano Books
176 pages

Reviewed for: Raincoast Books.

Where can I Find it? When I was a Turkey. When I Was a Turkey: Based on the Emmy Award-Winning PBS Documentary My Life as a Turkey

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  1. Sounds like a very different sort of book; just the kind I like. Made me think of "The Great Turkey Walk." Ever read that one? Lots of fun!

    1. Ah...I should have sent it along for you!!! It was interesting. I don't think I know the great turkey walk.


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