One chicken at storytime might be fun, but more than one….
“Story time at the library. // One librarian. One story. Children. / And a chicken. // The children like the chicken. The chicken likes the children. / ‘Let’s begin,’ says the librarian. Everyone loves story time.” The next week, though there is still just one librarian (a white woman with huge, round glasses) and one story, there are both more children and more chickens (both diverse in color and race/breed). The crowd is a bit unruly, but the librarian gets them seated, and everyone has a wonderful time. The next week, however, there are many children and flocks of chickens. The librarian can’t be heard over the clucking din and the laughter. Then she has a brilliant idea: have each child read a different story to several chickens…and everyone loves storytime again (including the librarian, who gets to put her feet up and have tea). Asher’s not-quite-cumulative tale of a poultry invasion of the public library told in simple declarative sentences will have little listeners wishing for more farm fowl at their libraries. Fearing’s part-traditional, part-digital illustrations are a mix of full- and double-page spreads and comics-style panels (some without words) that assist in the telling of the tale. Chicken shenanigans (they pop out of the book drop, use computers, and balance books on their heads) as well as their expressions add to the mayhem and enjoyment.
This book may make free-range storytimes de rigueur. (Picture book. 3-7)