Email this review


A traditional Spanish tale of how the weathervane came to be, set in Mexico and told in Spanish on the left page of each spread, and English on the right. Half-Chicken, a hatchling with only one eye, one wing, and one leg, is treated as a marvel by everyone, and becomes so vain that he decides to go impress the viceroy in Mexico City with his uniqueness. Along the way he turns a few good deeds: He untangles the wind, fans a guttering flame, releases an impounded stream. At the viceroy's palace, Half-Chicken isn't received with the pomp he expected, and escapes the stew pot with the help of the elements; fire, water, and wind take him out of harm's way, up to a rooftop where he can be found to this day. Both texts have a good simple beat, with enough repetition to allow readers in one language to comfortably sample the other. Howard's stylized, two-dimensional pictures demand closer viewing than story-hour sharing will allow; recalling Mexican mural art, they have a weathered, antique texture, as if some of the chunky blocks of color have been rubbed with ash. The message is universal and bears repeating: Neighborliness is its own reward, but paybacks come in handy.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1995
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Doubleday