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SURFER CHICK by Kristy Dempsey Kirkus Star


by Kristy Dempsey & illustrated by Henry Cole

Pub Date: May 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4197-0188-7
Publisher: Abrams

A most expressive chicken makes a splash in this winning title about learning to surf.

Dempsey (Mini Racer, 2011) keeps her groovy, rhyming text tight to create a raplike beat that colorfully describes a young chick’s adventures tackling the waves. “Two birds of a feather— / a chick and her dad— / lived by the shore / in a radical pad. // A legend in surfing, / Chick’s dad ruled the Roost. / Her dream was to learn / every move he produced.” Cole chooses a vibrant palette of neon and saturated bright hues that pop against the cerulean blue water found on several spreads. Dad comes off as laid back and oh so cool but offers calm encouragement when Chick has trouble paddling. Children will feel her frustration at learning a new skill and relate to her feeling “[a]lone on the sand, / [she] simply felt chicken. / She rested on shore / till her courage could thicken.” Inspired by her dad’s “righteous” moves, she heads for the waves and “[chooses] to be brave.” The acrylic-paint–and–colored-pencil illustrations humorously capture Chick’s every emotion as she battles the water and her fears. But her perseverance pays off, and a “gnarly new legend / has been introduced. // She’s fearless and plucky. / She’s stoked and she’s quick. / She’s totally awesome— / a real Surfer Chick!”

A guaranteed “Cowabunga!” (Picture book. 3-6)