CHICKEN WANTS A NAP

A day on the farm, seen through the eyes of a lively chicken.

“It’s a good day to be a chicken. The sun is up. The grass is warm. And chicken wants a nap.” Marchini’s minimal text runs in short sentences across the bottom of the book’s pages, the better to highlight Felix’s distinctive, painterly illustrations. Her chicken, with white feathers, yellow feet and bill, green eyes, and bright-red wattle and comb, has personality, nobility, and a kind of beauty. As the day progresses, the chicken’s plan to nap is consistently foiled, first by a sudden rain. She finds refuge in the quiet barn, but it’s disrupted by the loud, malodorous cows. The chicken next tries to find some peace on the porch, which is covered because “the farmer is kind.” This time it’s the loud barking of the friendly farm dog that disrupts. Again, the chicken cannot nap. It becomes a good day again when the rain stops and the worms come out of the ground. Belly full, the chicken is finally able to nap. But: “It’s a bad day to be a worm,” is the cheeky close. Marchini and Felix successfully portray their chicken as a real animal, not a cartoon or a human stand-in, and present life on a small farm. Marchini’s story and economy of telling display the chicken as total id, and Felix’s pencil-and-watercolor illustrations are genuine works of art.

A surprising gem. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-56846-308-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Creative Editions/Creative Company

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Hee haw.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

Did you like this book?

Likely to cause some imaginative prancing among unicorn and kitty lovers.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

ITTY-BITTY KITTY-CORN

Is Kitty only a kitten? Or might she be a noble unicorn?

Inspired by the unicorn on her poster, Kitty crafts a perfect horn and admires herself in the mirror. She feels “unicorn-y.” Her friends disagree. “ ‘You’re not a unicorn, putty-pie,’ says Parakeet. / ‘You’re curled up like a cat, fluffy-fry,’ says Gecko.” So Kitty uncurls to prance and gallop, but her detractors point out her tiny tail. With some effort she plumps it up. They tell her she will never be a unicorn because she meows like a cat; this, of course, prompts her to let out a loud “NEIGH!” Parakeet and Gecko are having none of it, each time varying their mild name-calling. As the sun dips low, Kitty’s sure her long shadow looks like a unicorn’s—until a real unicorn clops into view. Gecko and Parakeet are impressed, and Kitty feels insignificant. But this unicorn has a secret…a pair of fluffy, pink kitty ears the same pink as Kitty’s. They can be kitty-corns together, best friends. Unicorn fans will definitely identify with Hale’s protagonist and respond well to Pham’s bright cartoons, laid out as spot illustrations that pop against the mostly all-white backgrounds. The way Kitty’s friends dismissively poke fun with their name-calling may give some readers pause, but the be-true-to-the-inner-you message and the expressive characterizations add appeal. (This book was reviewed digitally with 12-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 51.2% of actual size.)

Likely to cause some imaginative prancing among unicorn and kitty lovers. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5091-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more