Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Book #18: Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein

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Papa is putting his daughter, the little red chicken, to bed when she insists on a bedtime story. Papa agrees but only if the little red chicken promises not to interrupt the story. So Papa begins the story of Hansel and Gretel. The witch is about to capture the children, but the little red chicken just can’t stand it. She cries out, “Out jumped a little red chicken, and she said, ‘Don’t go in! She’s a witch!’ So Hansel and Gretel didn’t. THE END!” Poor Papa struggles through Little Red Riding Hood – “Don’t talk to strangers!” –  and Chicken Little – “It was an acorn!” – before throwing the towel in. But the little red chicken just can’t go to bed without a story, so she reads one of her own to Papa. This time Papa is the one to interrupt the story…with his snoring!

This book is great for a fractured fairy tales storytime since it skewers 3 recognizable classics. It doesn’t spend too much time on each bedtime book that Papa reads, but the stories are easily recognizable to most kids so they’ll be able to follow. It’s a fun story for kids who always ask, “why?” What would happen if Little Red Riding Hood actually listened to her mother and didn't talk with wolves?

It’s refreshing to read a book that features chickens that doesn’t take place on a farm. There’s no clucking, mooing, baaing, or neighing. Most fingerplays about chickens include farm animal sounds; however I did find The 5 Hungry Chicks. It’s easy to perform with a flannelboard, plush chickens, or laminated pictures. Craft-wise, try a paper plate hand print chicken. If you get chicken happy, make a large Papa chicken and a small little red chicken.

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After reading the story have the kids write and illustrate their own bedtime story just as the little red chicken did. You never find out what happens in the story the little red chicken was writing, so you could have them write their own ending. Write your own endings for fairy tales or write a completely new story. If your child can’t write yet, have them dictate the story to you and they can add pictures. After you finish the story, staple it together into a book. Now you’re all ready for a bedtime story. 


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