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)