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Talking Turkeys is a collection of poems written by Zephaniah covering a whole host of topics. He addresses many issues affecting the world we live in but one thing remains a constant and that is the positive, peaceful message he conveys. It is clear Zephaniah wants the children who read his book to look at the world in a more critical way, to question what is happening around them and to not take everything at face value. He is quite political in his stance, openly attacking the Royal Family, Fox Hunting, Zoos and Big Businesses.

Reader's Reviews


The poems are all presented in an attractive and engaging way, irregular font sizes adorn the pages, often differing from line to line. Each poem is also accompanied by quirky images that reflect the quirky nature of his writing technique. For example, one poem could use Standard English whereas the next could be written completely in Jamaican Patois. It is a real joy to read because you don’t know what you’re going to encounter each time you turn the page. The themes are also extremely varied, you could be reading about faith and religion one minute and about his cat the next. I feel his informal, fun style would attract children to poetry and writing in general because it gives them a whole new take on the concept. His poem ‘Who’s Who’ for example;

I used to think nurses,

Were women,

I used to think police

Were men,

I used to think poets

Were boring,

Until I became one of them....

The sole purpose of the book is to do exactly as he writes in the introduction “I write poems for you, and I hope one day, you will write poems for me, read on and write soon.” It is clear Zephaniah wants to inspire a new generation of young poets.

I would recommend this book to children in year 5 and 6 as the topics are often quite complex. I feel the message behind some of them will be lost on younger children. The great thing about Talking Turkeys is that is can be applied to so many areas of the Curriculum. The poem ‘Beyond De Bell’ directly addresses bullies, asking them why they do it and to think about the pain they cause. This poem could easily be used in a PHSE or SEAL sessions, helping those that are the victims of bullying speak up and those that bully think about how harmful their actions are. We also see a whole host of other subjects addressed throughout the book. History, Religious Education, Foreign Languages and Citizenship all make an appearance. However, Citizenship in particular promotes resonates throughout them all and in particular the positive message of cultural unity.

We are black and brown,

We are white and sound,

We have pride of place,

We are on de case,

We are wild and tame,

We are all de same.


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