Sunday, November 7, 2010


By Keith Graves

(Chronicle Books, 2010)

I have author envy. It arises whenever I see a book title like Chicken Big. Of course. How obvious. Take the classic Chicken Little and give it a twist. But it only became obvious after author/illustrator Keith Graves beat me to publication. And, I must admit, his goofy book is more amusing than anything I could have hatched.

The story begins when "a very small hen laid a big, humongous egg". The other chickens don't know what to make of the giant hatchling. The smallest chicken ("not the sharpest beak in the flock") determines that something so big must be an elephant. Then, when it rains and the big chick offers shelter under its wings, the smallest chicken realizes this is no elephant. Clearly it is an umbrella. And the case of mistaken identity continues.

This kind of silliness will entertain young readers (and older ones too). Chicken advocates, take no offense. Do not complain of perpetuating stereotypes. The sky isn't falling. Let the breezy text and zany pictures (with comic speech bubbles) bring a smile to your face and enjoy the chorus of giggles sure to surface during a bedtime or early primary read-aloud session.