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Monday, November 24, 2014

Chicken Clicking, written by Jeanne Willis and illustrated by Tony Ross. Andersen Press, Random House. 2014. $21.99 ages 5 and up

"Cheepy, chirpy, cheepy -
She had a little browse.
She bought a funny teapot -
She bought a frilly blouse.
CLICK! She bought a
CLICK! A hive of bees."

This is a picture book that offers a caution against overuse of the Internet to feed a shopping habit, and about finding friends online when you don't really know who they might be. Is it an important story to share? You bet, it is!

A tiny chick makes a furtive nighttime visit to the farmer's house and his computer. While browsing,
her attention is drawn to a number of tempting purchases. CLICK...and they are on their way to the farm. When the goods start arriving, the farmer is bamboozled. He has no recollection of their purchase. A second foray brings a host of goodies for the chick herself. The farmer is furious and blames his wife. Knowing she is innocent, the wife blames the computer.

Chick goes merrily on her way buying gifts for her many farmyard friends. They are most appreciative!  Once her friends are off enjoying the fruits of her labor, Chick is left alone to her own devices. Lonely, she decides to find a friend online. A camera is purchased, a picture taken and posted. Soon, she is chatting with another chick...or so she thinks:

"She put her photograph online
She gave her name and age.
CLICK! Another chick appeared
Upon the friendship page."

Happy, convivial chats lead to a planned meeting. Chick tells no one. Young children will quickly get the message when they see who that friend really is!

While Jeanne Willis builds tension in this humorous cautionary tale, Tony Ross matches her text with appealing artwork that is sure to grab attention and have young listeners hanging on her every word. They are silly at times, as is Chick's obsession with online buying. Together, they build a story that is
sure to inspire a discussion that needs to be had.

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