Featured, News

Adventures of Ellie the Turkey Documented in Children’s Book

Left: Author Sharlene Wiseman and illustrator Ellen Mills Pauley sign copies of “Ellie Comes to Town.” Right: One of the delightful illustrations depicting Ellie’s adventures.

A new book documenting the adventures of Eleanor’s Ellie the Turkey has just come out in time for Thanksgiving. Sharlene Wiseman of Liberty has written a children’s book recounting the tale of the turkey that unexpectedly decided to make Eleanor her home, with accompanying illustrations by local artist Ellen Mills Pauley.

In October of 2022, a female turkey appeared in Eleanor, visiting various businesses around the town. No one knew from whence she came, but she quickly became a sensation in the community. While many initially theorized that the bird was a wild turkey, she seemed comfortable being around humans, even attempting to enter local stores. People began sharing photos of turkey sightings on social media, and the mystery bird, who had been dubbed with the nickname of “Ellie,” gained the attention of local news outlets. As Thanksgiving neared, concerned citizens began to worry for Ellie’s safety, and Mayor Cam Clendenin issued an official proclamation that the turkey was to be protected by residents.

Ellie was later relocated to a farm in Liberty, but the impact that she made upon the town of Eleanor has been a lasting one. Last winter, the town issued a series of commemorative Christmas ornaments which were adorned with her likeness, and now she has her own book.

Support from the community for “Ellie Comes to Town” has been overwhelming. On Tuesday, November 14, a launch party for the book was held at the Red House, Eleanor’s historic town hall. A great number of people turned out for the event, with visitors waiting in line for long periods of time to purchase autographed copies of “Ellie Comes to Town.” Over 170 copies were sold that evening alone.

In addition to telling the story of Ellie the Turkey, the book gives the reader a visual tour of Eleanor through its whimsically drawn illustrations of local landmarks such as the Red House and Fruth’s Pharmacy. Ellie Comes to Town also recounts the history of Eleanor, which was established in the 1930’s as a New Deal homestead town which offered land and jobs to new residents. The town was named for First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who visited the area five times during the construction of the project.

Author Sharlene Wiseman, who is a retired kindergarten aide, has always wanted to write a children’s book. She has a deep love of journaling and an interest in writing. When her grandson, Terrance Wiseman, was assigned by one of his teachers at George Washington Middle to write an essay on Ellie the turkey, Sharlene was inspired to write her own story. She was very impressed by the architectural drawings of Ellen Mills Pauley, and wanted her to be the one to illustrate the book. “Ellie Comes to Town,” which was released in October, has sold over 600 copies so far, with copies being mailed to six different states.

To promote her book, Sharlene has visited various schools throughout the county, where she reads the story of Ellie the turkey to the children. She has also hosted several meet and greet events, as well as made appearances at local craft fairs. She would like to thank the community for its support.

To purchase copies of “Ellie Comes to Town,” write to Sharlene Wiseman at [email protected] and make arrangements for payment and delivery. The book is also sold at Taylor Books in Charleston and Tamarack in Beckley.

People line up to purchase their own copy of “Ellie Comes to Town.”
Please follow and like us: