Monday, October 17, 2011


Written by Ellen A. Kelley

Illustrated by Michael Slack

(Harcourt, 2007)

I am not a fan of rhyming picture books, but sometimes the story and the words are so amusing that I can escape the sing-song way I read most children’s rhymes. Maybe I just have a soft spot for goofy chicken tales.

Pauline Poulet is a hen that is all too aware of her surroundings. She lays egg after egg, only to have them snatched and stored in cartons. Worse, she cannot rest like her coop-mates:

But round my roost
I hear suspicious
words like
“Chicken pie,
Has Farmer hatched a crafty plan
to throw me in a frying pan?

Pauline flees the farm, beginning a harrowing adventure that finds her dumped in the sea.

Then pirates pull me
from the foam.
Why, oh why,
did I leave home?

As the frazzled fowl faces challenge after challenge, she finds courage in the words, “Pauline, prevail!” Yes, our little chicken is a comical character who nonetheless provides inspiration when facing fear and demonstrates resilience when things appear bleak.

Michael Slack’s digital mixed media illustrations add to the playfulness of the story. Poor Pauline is shown in a series of hapless circumstances befitting a cartoon character. Her foes appear sinister while simultaneously foolish.

Kids will enjoy joining in to yell, “Pauline, prevail!” They will root for her. Perhaps they can, in turn, come up with original phrases to help them through their own travails.


  1. I love children's books and we raise chickens! Can't wait to read this. Love your blog. Reading is so important. You might enjoy my blog and book. I'm a "retired" kindergarten teacher.

  2. Hi Susan,
    Thanks for checking out my blog. I will stop by yours as well. Try to track down Chicken Big by Keith Graves as well. The characters in that story are ultra silly!