My Little Chick

tr. from French by Kathryn Bishop. illus. by Eve Tharlet. 32p. minedition. Apr. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9789888341740.
RedReviewStarPreS-Gr 2—This European import marries information and entertainment to depict a chick's gestation—a topic of perennial fascination. Although not pictured until mid-way through the story, a young girl narrates this first-person barnyard tale. As Lena surveys the hens, she is sad to realize there are no babies. When her mother explains that birth occurs 21 days after an egg is sighted, the child loses no time hiding in the coop to wait. A helpful—and humorous—calendar provides a sense of how long that feels, showing the hen in various positions: sitting, sleeping, reading, and watching a snail slide by. After the egg appears and emerges from the chicken (a sequence not often seen in children's books) and is subsequently abandoned, Lena races to her bedroom to pile quilts upon it. A tearful accident leads to a family conversation about the need for an incubator in such situations, and together they build one. Elschner's believable characterization and plot will elicit interest and empathy in the drama involved in and patience required to nurture new life. Tharlet's soft, sunny scenes spotlight Alma, the star hen, with rays of light and shifting perspectives. When the longed-for egg grows to the size of a spread, the use of flaps cleverly depict the hatching process. Lena lovingly conveys the chick to her mother and siblings, whose reactions are both curious and comical.
VERDICT Viewers on laps or small groups will be entranced. A lovely seasonal addition.

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