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Interview: Kirsti Call and Warming Up With Cold Turkey

Cold Turkey by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Kirsti Call

Little Brown and Company, 2021

[Buy Cold Turkey HERE]

Turkey is not just for Thanksgiving anymore! With Corey and Kirsti’s COLD TURKEY, it’s definitely a seasonal delight!

Turkey woke up c-c-cold.

He wheezed. “It’s ten degrees!

I need to b-b-bundle up before I f-f-freeze.”

LYNNE MARIE: As you know, I’m a fan of farm animal books and puns, which makes me a *huge* fan of this book. Please share how you came up with this engaging concept!

KIRSTI CALL: That’s tur-ific, Lynne Marie! Thank you! Where I live, turkeys parading across my yard is a common occurrence. The title COLD TURKEY on my list of ideas, so Corey and I decided to take a crack at it.

LM: Please share your collaboration experience. What method of working together did you use?

KC: We write together on google docs, messenger, texting stanzas back and forth--it’s super fun to collaborate with Corey!

LM: The poetic devices in this took make it so fun to read, as well as fun to listen to! Please share some of the devices used and define them for our readers.

KC: We use alliteration, wordplay, onomatopoeia and other literary devices.

Alliteration is when the same letter or sound is at the beginning of words that are near each other. For example, “ chilly chicken, shivering sheep.”

Wordplay is the witty use of words, especially puns. For example, Cow says this line “This wind is a cow-tasrophy! It’s udderly insane!”

Onomatopoeia is the formation of a word from the sound it’s associated with. In COLD TURKEY, all the animal’s teeth are chattering, so to mimic that sound, they say words like “c-c-cold” and “b-b-bundle.”.

LM: How much of a challenge was it to come up with the alliteration for the animals! The choices are so clever!

KC: It was actually a lot of fun!!! We made a list of animals and tried to come up with something that worked for COLD and HOT alliteration. Horse is actually the only animals who got both alliterative descriptions. “Huddling horse” and “Hot horse!”

LM: This book has a subtle theme of charity and kindness. At what point did you come up with this theme. Was it hard to weave it in?

KC: Somehow the idea of Turkey giving up his winter clothing just happened organically. As we were writing, it just c-c-came out!!!

LM: As always, your rhyme is wonderful. We are so thankful to have you as a Rate Your Story Judge and from time to time as a Targeted Speedpass Judge (which means that a writer can request you specifically)! Where did you learn to rhyme from?

KC: I’ve been writing rhyming poetry since I was a kid, but I really got to the next level with Renee La Tulippe’s class, THE LYRICAL LANGUAGE LAB.

LM: What tips do you have for a Member who may be considering writing a story in rhyme?

KC: Write your story in prose first to make sure you have the story arc and plot points where you want them. Study rhyme and meter so you can make your story sing!

LM: If ultimately, a writer decides to keep a book in rhyme, what resources can you recommend for checking if the rhyme is sound?

KC: Read it aloud and see where you stumble. Have someone else read it aloud, and notice where they stumble. Get a critique from someone who rhymes well. And take Renee

La Tulippe’s course. You won’t regret it!!!

LM: Please share what’s upcoming on the horizon! We always look forward to your fun and clever books, such as Cow Says Meow and Mootilda’s Bad Mood!

KC: Next summer, THE BIG SCREAM released with Little Simon! And more books to be announced soon!

But for now, enjoy the Cold Turkey Song!

Kirsti Call

Website - Facebook - Twitter - Instagram MOOTILDA'S BAD MOOD, (Little Bee, 2020)

COW SAYS MEOW, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021)

COLD TURKEY, (Little Brown, 2021)

THE BIG SCREAM (Little Simon, 2022)

Rep'd by Charlotte Wenger at Prospect Agency


Kirsti Call is an Author and Rate Your Story Judge who specializes in rhyme. Visit her at

Lynne Marie is an Author and Rate Your Story Owner, Administrator and Judge. She's also the Agent and Editor Spotlight Feature Editor for Children's Book Insider ( Visit her at

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