November 16, 1990 at 05:00 AM EST

When Moose Was Young

Current Status
In Season
Jim Latimer
Fiction, Kids and Family
We gave it an A

In Jim Latimer’s When Moose Was Young, Moose is a gentle, amiably befuddled creature who lives in the backwoods town of Moosewood. This is the second collection of disarmingly offbeat short stories about Moose and his animal friends and the last book to be illustrated, in characteristically subtle and witty watercolors, by the late, great Donald Carrick.

Just right to read aloud on Thanksgiving is the hilariously illustrated story ”Turkeys.” One April day, Moose stumbles across a congregation of wild turkeys hidden in the skunk cabbage, dressed in Pilgrim costumes, and whooping it up. The turkeys explain to the astounded Moose that they are celebrating Thanksgiving, as they do every Thursday. ”It’s our only special day,” they tell Moose lugubriously. ”The only day we are special.” Sometimes the turkeys dress up in flowers and do a ”tribal dance,” and sometimes they just cut loose.

Struck by the loneliness of the turkeys, Moose gallops off and returns with a load of daffodils, whereupon they all somersault and dance together.

Goofy, wistful, and with a satisfyingly rich and inventive vocabulary, ”Turkeys” and the three other Moose stories in this collection are just the ticket if you’d like to add a tang of imaginative play to the holiday. A

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