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BUSY-BUSY LITTLE CHICK by Janice N. Harrington


by Janice N. Harrington & illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Feb. 19th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-374-34746-8
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Based on a fable of the Nkundo people of Central Africa, this compelling tale brings home the message that if you want something done right—or at all—sometimes you have to do it yourself.

Mama Nsoso’s shivering chicks are in desperate need of a new home. Though Mama promises to build them a cozy one that will keep the wind, rain and cold at bay, each day she is distracted by something delicious to eat, and each night the disappointed chicks cry with cold. Except, that is, for the persistent, industrious Little Chick, who, exhausted from working alone and in secret on a new nest for the family, falls right asleep. When the nest is ready, Little Chick invites his brothers and sisters in for a good night’s rest. The tale incorporates non-English words and sounds without any context or framing device, and readers must locate the author’s note and glossary on the final page to discover that these words are from the language of the Nkundo people, who are the original tellers of this tale. To further complicate matters, while Pinkney’s vibrant, energetically loose illustrations lovingly and skillfully render Mama and her chicks, they give almost no indication of setting.

Potential confusion aside, this well-told and beautifully illustrated offering makes a distinctive addition to folklore collections. (author’s note, glossary)  (Picture book/folktale. 4-8)