Higgledy-Piggledy Chicks

40p. 978-0-06075-042-8.
PreS Night in the barnyard gives way to the crowing rooster. Then: "Banty hen feels]broody." She lays her eggs, waits, they hatch, run around getting into trouble, and finally night falls, leaving them safe with their mother. The story is minimal, but the pleasing sound effects and adventurous chicks testing their independence will engage young listeners. The time structure is uneven, beginning with morning and finishing at night, while leaving the time in between elastic: sometimes there are moments between pages, other times days or weeks, which may confuse the intended audience. A lovely endnote explains the factual information behind the text. Joosse is trying to impart it in an entertaining, narrative fashion, but she is only partially successful. The illustrations, on the other hand, are inspired. Using collage and colored pencil, Chrustowski imbues the images with color, life, personality, and movement. The chicks, who vary in color from black to brown to yellow, with some bicolored, look ready to jump off the page. The artist's torn-paper technique gives them a fuzzy look, and the collage provides depth and texture. The barnyard teems with life, including everything from grasshoppers to snakes to raccoons. Using close-up images, Chrustowski provides predictable elements, increasing children's engagement. An additional purchase."Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT" Copyright 2010 Media Source Inc.
Seven freshly hatched chicks explore their world as Mama and the aunties (Bantam hens) protect them from barnyard dangers. Although this snapshot of farm life is weak on plot, the action and onomatopoeia will appeal to young listeners. Colorful collage illustrations capture the chicks' boundless energy and curiosity. An author's note describes the brooding process and the importance of a mother hen's "language."

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