Thursday, June 14, 2012

Book #166: Chicken Big by Keith Graves

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This hilarious spin on the classic Chicken Little story features a band of ditzy chickens who are confused by the presence of a giant chicken who just wants to be part of the gang. When this enormous chicken is born the others aren’t quite sure what to do, but they are fairly sure that it is not a chicken. It’s so big, it must be an elephant! The small and not-so-bright chickens are easily fooled into thinking the sky is falling or leaking, but luckily the large chicken manages to save the day by convincing them that it’s really just an acorn and that it’s just rain. The small chickens still don’t think he’s a chicken, until the day that the humongous chick rescues all the eggs from the hungry fox. Only a chicken could be so smart, kind, warm, and brave!

The illustrations and layout of this book are akin to a graphic novel, with lots of speech bubbles and multiple panels per page. The text is suited for preschoolers and up who are familiar with the original Chicken Little story. The vocabulary introduces several synonyms for the words big and small, such as humongous, large, itty-bitty, and small. Make sure to read the front and back of the cover, as well as the title page for more chicken-y humor.

After you read the book, ask the kids why the chickens thought the sky was falling, leaking, etc. Was it because they were jumping to conclusions? Did they jump to conclusions about the humongous chicken too? Discuss the idea of giving others a fair chance before making judgments.

I’d love to adapt this into a reader’s theatre script for a small group of children (the five chickens, the fox, and a narrator or two). This would be especially fun for a middle school or high school group to perform for elementary school children.

Use this book for a farm, chicken or fractured tales story time. Follow up with the rhyme, Chicken Fun or Five Little Chicks. The latter is a fun rhyme to use with a flannelboard or laminated pictures of each of the five chickens in the book.


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