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Monday, September 26, 2011

Chicken Big, written and illustrated by Keith Graves. Chronicle, 2010. $18.99 ages 4 and up

"After a while,
a chilly wind began to blow.
'Someone has put the world
in the refrigerator!" peeped
the smallest chicken. "We're
all going to freeze!"

This is TOO much fun! Kids will be hooting and hollering as they meet the chickens who live 'on a teeny little farm, in an itty-bitty coop' and must share their space with a colossal chick. No one knows just what to do with the chick, including the chick itself who is mistaken for an elephant by the smallest chicken, who is 'not the sharpest beak in the flock'.

You know where I'm going with this...a fractured fairy tale which takes its storyline from Chicken Little. The humor is sides ache when I read it with kids. No matter what happens in the chicken yard, rooster and his three friends...the small chicken, the smaller chicken and the smallest chicken have comments to make. They think they are knowledgeable about the world and offer up comments at every turn.

"I've never seen a squirrel do that," crowed the little rooster.

"Not very squirrel-ish at all," clucked the small chicken.

"Squirrels don't keep you dry in the rain," clucked the smaller chicken.

"I see what you're saying," peeped the smallest chicken.

"Apparently, he  is an UMBRELLA!"

Poor big chick...he begins to wonder about his own identity.

All's well that ends well, as happens in most fairy tales. Listeners and readers are left to beg for 'just one more time!' You won't be able to stop yourself.

The artwork is equally hilarious, providing added jokes and speech bubbles that will have listeners in stitches. It's such fun to read and to watch the expressions as each of the new events transpire. And, don't miss the back cover!

This would be fun to read alongside a more traditional version of Chicken Little to see what young listeners make of it. It will remain a favorite read of mine for some time to come.

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