Monday, February 27, 2012

Book #58: Chicken Dance by Tammi Sauer, Illustrated by Dan Santat

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Marge and Lola are chickens who adore Elvis Poultry, so when they see a poster for the talent show, grand prize - tickets to Elvis Poultry in concert, they know they have to win. Unfortunately, the ducks always win and they just won’t let anyone forget it. Marge and Lola assess their talents – bowling, flying, swimming, juggling – but they fail at all of them. It’s time for the talent show and Marge and Lola still don’t know what to do! The goats are eating tractors, the pigs are making pyramids, and those smug ducks are surfing! Suddenly, the chickens are up, standing frozen before the audience, until the ducks yell at the chickens making them bawk and flap and shake. The crowd goes wild for their “regular chicken stuff!” Although the chickens give it their all, they only score an 8.5. But then Elvis Poultry himself arrives! The next day there’s a new poster on the barn that announces that Elvis Poultry and the Chicken Dancers will be going on tour.  

Full of hilarious details, the illustrations create a classic barnyard full of quirky characters. I especially love the endpapers, which feature diagrams of different chicken dances, such as the Disco Chicken. Marge and Lola are little chickens with big dreams and total determination and the illustrations portray their efforts with amusing panache. The text is short and moves the plot along quickly.

Although the book is funnier if you get the Elvis Presley/Poultry joke, the antics of Marge and Lola will entertain kids of all ages. After you read the story play some classic Elvis songs and try out some of the chicken dances in the book. Check out the videos of more dances performed by Sauer and Santat.

The Elvis Poultry Official Website includes a wonderful teacher’s guide and a downloadable PDF to make your own Elvis Poultry Sunglasses. Besides having great printable activities, the guide also includes the address to send Elvis Poultry fan mail.

If your kids love the film Chicken Run, then this book will be a hit at your house. Additionally, Marge and Lola’s further adventures on tour with Elvis Poultry will be featured in the soon to be released, Bawk and Roll.


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