Reviews for City Chicken


Booklist Monthly Selections - # 2 March 2003
PreS-Gr. 2. A naive city chicken gets a country education in this pun-filled story. Henrietta (Henry) the chicken believes that most other chickens are just like her: they live in the city and lay blue eggs. It's know-it-all neighbor Lucy the cat who explains about country chickens, horses, cows, and pigs. Wanting to see everything for herself, Henry sets off on a bus trip to the country, where she winds up at an industrial egg farm. The mechanical clamor and speed overwhelm her, and she gladly leaves the noisy country behind and returns to her quiet city life. Dorros' story occasionally lacks focus, culminating in a random ending that imagines chickens in space, and he also leaves lots of questions unanswered (Is it Henry's unusual pizza-based diet that results in the blue eggs?). But his depiction of the farm--a large factory operation--is refreshingly unidealized, and the lively language will entertain the picture-book crowd with age-appropriate jokes and wordplay. Cole's cartoonlike watercolors extend the humor and show Henry's hilariously misinformed view of the world. ((Reviewed March 15, 2003)) Copyright 2003 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2003 Fall
Gently scrambling elements from ""The Country Mouse and the City Mouse"" with ""The Mice and the Elephant,"" Dorros introduces young listeners to Henry (Henrietta), a wisecracking city chicken. After a cat sows seeds of discontent, Henry becomes convinced that she should try out life in the country. Her ensuing misadventures provide a fertile field for wordplay. The appropriately bright pastels amusingly depict Henry's misconceptions. Copyright 2003 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2003 #2
Gently scrambling elements from ôThe Country Mouse and the City Mouseö with ôThe Mice and the Elephant,ö author Dorros introduces young listeners to Henry, short for Henrietta, a wisecracking chicken who lives in the city and lays blue eggs (a detail that goes nowhere). Lucy, the cat from next door, sows the seeds of discontent. ôWhatÆs a chicken like you doing laying eggs around here?ö she asks, and Henry becomes convinced that she should try out life in the country. After all, sheÆs heard all about horses that carry people on their backs, cows that eat grass, and pink pigs that wallow in the mud. Henry, with typical childlike egoism, pairs the animalsÆ characteristics with images of herself, and visualizes each creature as some form of chicken with various coloration and strange habits. HenryÆs ensuing misadventures convince her that sheÆs a downtown chick at heart, but they also provide a fertile field for wordplay. When Henry boards the bus heading for the country, a dog spies her and comments, ôWhat a turkey.ö ôæChicken,Æ said Henry. æI am not,Æ barked the dog. æI am,Æ cackled Henry.ö Not exactly sophisticated quips, but just right for youngsters who think knock-knock jokes the height of humor. ColeÆs illustrations amusingly depict HenryÆs misconceptions in appropriately bright pastels. Copyright 2003 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 2002 December #1
A storm of double-entendres and figures of speech turned into literalisms, plus a fine little twist on commonly held notions of city vs. country, make Dorros's story of a chicken that flew the coop a winner. Henry--short for Henrietta, it seems--is a city chicken. She has her own coop and the run of the backyard where she works the scratch and chats with Lucy, the family cat. Lucy regales Henry with stories of strange farm animals, reflected in illustrations showing Henry's interpretation of them. Henry decides to investigate for herself. She tries to fly to the country, but opts to take the bus when her wings fail her. Henry asks a passing ant, "Where is the country these days?" The ant motions to a truck headed in the right direction, a garbage truck, which, the ant notes, serves great meals. Once in the country and on a farm, Henry gets the special treat of visiting a substantial chicken coop, which resembles a cross between a purgatorial apartment house and a forced-labor camp. Henry is on the next truck home and another pastoral idyll gets its balloon pricked. This is not Cole's most inspired work, though he still manages to stand above the crowd. The illustrations, with their corny mannerisms, flag when held up next to the text. But Dorros shines, the wordplay at just the right pitch of sophistication, slyly winking at the readers as it invites them in on all the jokes. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2002 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2002 November #4
One-liners and sight gags are as thick as feathers in a henhouse in Dorros's (Ten Go Tango) and Cole's (The Sissy Duckling) pert poultry drama. Henry ("short for Henrietta") is the city chicken of the title; she lives in a cozy coop in her owner's backyard. Lucy the cat tells her so much about the wondrous animals who live in the country ("They are huge and brown, and let people jump on their backs," she says, describing a horse, while Henry visualizes a Godzilla-size chicken racing through the city streets with seven enthusiastic riders sprawled between her wings) that Henry decides to go and see them for herself. After she makes her way out to rural farmland ("Here's a truck that goes to the country," an ant tells her, gesturing toward a garbage truck. "And they serve great meals on board!"), an encounter with an industrial barn crammed with crated egg-laying hens convinces Henry that the city is where she belongs. " `Was the country all it was cracked up to be?' asked Lucy. `It was different,' said Henry. `But it was not the place for me.' " While disparate themes compete for readers' attention-mechanized agriculture, knowing where one belongs, finding out that not everything lives up to its billing-the dynamic spreads and storytelling relay the action with boisterous energy and humor. Ages 4-8. (Feb.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2003 February
PreS-Gr 1-Henrietta (Henry, for short) has lived in a chicken coop in the city all of her life. So when Lucy, the cat next door, tells her tantalizing tales of cows ("They eat grass, and milk comes out"), horses, and pigs, the bird decides that it's time to see these wonders for herself. After unsuccessfully attempting to fly to the country, she settles instead for rides on a bus and a garbage truck, and finds herself on a farm. During her wanderings, she completely misidentifies all the animals and then witnesses mass egg production. She is initially confounded and then dismayed by the little cages, automatic grain dispenser, and conveyor-belt egg transportation, and wisely realizes that the city's the place for her. Once she gets home, though, and Lucy regales her with stories of the first chicken astronaut, Henry starts thinking about her next adventure. Sprinkled with puns and references to chicken jokes, this likable tale pokes gentle fun at the baffled but "game" bird in language easily understood by the storytime crowd. Cole's cheerful and expansive watercolor cartoon illustrations pair well with the straightforward text and reflect the silly and slightly exaggerated characters and plot. What this story lacks in sparkle, it makes up for in approachability and good humor. This book will add an "eggs-tra layer" to storytimes featuring such adventuresome chickens as Pauline in Mary Jane Auch's Eggs Mark the Spot (Holiday, 1996) and the siblings in Laura Numeroff's Chicken Sisters (HarperCollins, 1997).-Carol Ann Wilson, Westfield Memorial Library, NJ Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.

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