CHICKEN TALK by Patricia MacLachlan


Age Range: 4 - 8
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A series of mysterious messages yields surprising insights for this farm family.

Farmers Otis and Abby have two children, Willie and Belle—and 12 beloved chickens, who are often included in family activities, eating fresh salads, reading, and sitting in rocking chairs on the porch. Krosoczka’s expressive illustrations, rendered in what appears to be watercolor and pencil, bring humor and tenderness to each character, human and chicken. One day, the humans are surprised to discover a message that appears to have been scratched in the dirt by a chicken: “No more ARUGULA.” More messages, complete with charming mistakes such as a reversed letter “e,” soon follow: “More stories about brave chickens” and “too hot. Can we have a fan?” After Tripp, their letter carrier, tells the townspeople, human crowds appear with smartphones and money in hand to document the “chicken talk” and purchase eggs. Unlike Charlotte’s Web, the humans and their feathered wordsmiths appear to live in mutual appreciation happily ever after. Yet the greatest mystery of all is never solved: Can readers trust that these messages truly are coming directly from the chickens? What would it mean if they were not? Regardless, MacLachlan’s latest models an attentive, loving, and respectful relationship between humans and their animal companions that even those without articulate pets will appreciate. The farmers and their children present white; Tripp has brown skin.

A sweet, silly, and slightly surreal celebration of individuality and connection. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 15th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-06-239864-2
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2018


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