A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting has been one of my favorite Thanksgiving picture books for many years. My students have always been engaged by the story and love the surprise ending.


Mr. and Mrs. Moose are planning Thanksgiving with all their friends but the one thing they are missing for dinner is a turkey. The search for a turkey leads the reader to believe he is being sought to complete dinner, but in the end, we find he is actually meant to be the guest of honor.

Read Aloud Questions

Before Reading

  • Looking at the cover, what season do you think the story takes place in?
  • What is Thanksgiving? 
  • Why would you want a turkey for Thanksgiving?

During Reading

  • Why do you think Mrs. Moose wants a turkey? 
  • Where do you think Mr. Moose will look for a turkey? 
  • Why is turkey hiding? 

After Reading

  • Did the story end differently than you expected?
  • How do you think Turkey felt when he found out why they wanted him?
  • Is this story fiction or non-fiction? What are some things that make you know it is fiction?

Connecting Standards to A Turkey for Thanksgiving


Ask students to share why they think Turkey ran when Mr. Moose called to him. What did Turkey think was going to happen? What part of the text or illustrations lead them to this conclusion?

Opinion Writing

Mrs. Moose served acorns, alfalfa sprouts, willow bark, cured grasses, wild parsley, and pressed leaves. Have students write about what they think would be the best things to serve if they were having guests for Thanksgiving dinner and had to plan the menu.


Have students choose animals from the story and research what foods those animals eat in real life. Which animals from the story might actually eat what Mrs. Moose served in real life?

Turkey for Thanksgiving Story Map
Turkey For Thanksgiving Retelling
Turkey for Thanksgiving Past Tense Verbs

More About the Author and Story

Eve Bunting grew up in Ireland and moved to California when she was an adult. When she was a young girl her father read poetry to her. Her mother created a library in their home so people in their community would have more access to books. Eve has written more than 200 books! Some were written for entertainment while others address more serious topics. Here is a list of her books with reviews. 

I have discovered the pleasures of telling a story of happiness or sorrow in a few simple words.

Eve Bunting

If you’re looking for more activities for A Turkey for Thanksgiving, check out the Learning Through Literature book companion in the Resource Ranch store.

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Rhonda is the author of Resource Ranch. Most of her classroom experience has been in early elementary. She has also taught Title I Reading, ESL, and gifted students. She is certified as a Texas teacher in grades 1-8 and as a K-12 librarian.