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THE CHICKEN-CHASING QUEEN OF LAMAR COUNTY by Janice N. Harrington Kirkus Star

THE CHICKEN-CHASING QUEEN OF LAMAR COUNTY

By Janice N. Harrington (Author) , Shelley Jackson (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: April 5th, 2007
ISBN: 0-374-31251-6
Publisher: Melanie Kroupa/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Never has the expression, “feathers will fly” been as aptly illustrated as in this vivacious story of an African-American farm girl who loves nothing more than chasing chickens. Every morning, the self-appointed queen tells tales to gray-haired Big Mama and heads outside to pursue her prey. The story details the joy—and strategy—of the chase in playfully poetic prose: “Then I sneaky-hide behind Big Mama’s wheelbarrow and make myself small, small, small.” The girl’s favorite victim, the elusive Miss Hen, gets a break when her tormentor discovers she’s now a nesting mother with fuzzy chicks, a heartwarming development that reforms the once-insatiable chicken-chaser . . . at least temporarily. Harrington’s soothingly rhythmic first-person storytelling is just right for reading aloud. Jackson’s delightful collages, patched with photos of colorful fabric and other everyday objects, capture the kinetic frenzy of chickens from a variety of unusual perspectives. Cut-out letters and spelling variations on “squawk” add occasional Vladimir Radunsky–style flair, though there’s nothing cartoonish about the realistic, wonderfully expressive faces of Big Mama and her charge. Contented clucks all around. (Picture book. 4-8)