When Bear says he’s having chicken for lunch, what exactly does he mean?
One very cold day, as Bear is taking his morning walk, he sees a chicken frozen in the snow. As he carries the chicken to the warmth of his home, he wonders about the best way to defrost a chicken, then “burrito-wraps” it in a blanket in front of the roaring fire. This works, though Chicken, whose first sight upon awaking is sharp teeth, is immediately alarmed. But Bear is as friendly as can be. “Hello there,” he says. “You’re just in time.” Chicken wonders, “In time for what?” Bear brings out a big pot, fills it with water, and sets it on the stove to boil. Bear is going to make Chicken into lunch! Chicken makes a clumsy run for it, out into the snow and zigzagging through the trees. Bear pursues, carrying Chicken’s bindle and expressing his concern that Chicken is leaving without lunch—which is vegetable soup. Ho’s simple, humorous story provides a gentle lesson on prejudice and friendship; her illustrations are bright and basic, and Bear’s teeth are visible only in Chicken’s imagination. Readers in vegetarian households or those unfamiliar with the cooking terminology used in the text may be several steps behind Chicken, but they will still probably find the tale a funny one. There’s also a recipe for Bear’s vegetable soup and an informational note about “mostly vegetarian” black bears.
A sweet tale of expectations upended. (Picture book. 3-6)