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Friday, February 25, 2011

The Chicken Thief, illustrated by Beatrice Rodriguez. Enchanted Lion Books, 2010. $14.95 ages 4 and up

Ah, a blog post with no quote from the book! That might be a first...but, it won't be the last. I love wordless books and feel the need to remind readers that just because they don't have words, it does follow that they don't tell a thoughtful and quite unbelievable story. So, now I am going to spend some time writing about a book that uses nary a word to pack a wallop in the telling.

 It is a story of thievery and of love....and a whole lot more. As it opens we see a fox hightailing it away from a white cottage in the forest, hen under his arm. The cottage inhabitants include a surprised rabbit, an enraged bear, an aghast rooster (the mate?) and scattered squawking hens and a host of baby 'chicklets'. Bear, Rabbit and Rooster set off in hot pursuit, through daylight and moonlight. They take refuge in tall trees when exhaustion calls a halt to the running. When the morning sun rises, they are off again...until the fox finds his den and the others must try to find a way inside.

The tunnel maze is daunting, Bear is too big to fit and the others are not too keen to tangle with a fox in his lair. A close look inside shows the warm glow of candlelight and the camaraderie of a chess game being played. What the what? Fox and Hen seem quite content to be together and that sets the stage for the final 'twist in the tale'.

Humor and quiet thoughtfulness about relationships are here for all who share this book! There are many questions to be asked and considered. The panoramic views suggest the long distance travelled and the hardships faced as the chase plays itself out. Every expression is clearly conveyed, the warmth of the daytime sun, the cool of the nighttime vigils and all action in between is evident to each 'reader'.

Put this on your list of books to add to your is meant to be savored and shared time and again.

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