Reviews for Chicken Big

Booklist Reviews 2010 November #1
In a sort of mash-up of "Chicken Little" and "Blind Men and the Elephant," henhouse residents are set aflutter by the arrival of an enormous new hatchling. What is it? An elephant, opines the smallest chicken. But when that same hen ("not the sharpest beak in the flock") is hit in succession by an acorn ("The sky is falling!"), a drop of rain ("The sky is leaking!"), and a cold breeze ("Someone has put the world in the refrigerator! We're all going to freeze!"), the monster provides both common sense and protective bulk--and in return is identified as a squirrel, then an umbrella, then a sweater. Graves illustrates this crowd-pleaser with simple cartoon scenes in which the new chick looms hugely, rolling its eyes at the antics of a quartet of scraggly, pop-eyed, appropriately silly-looking poultry. In a satisfying resolution, the chick dashes off heroically to rescue a clutch of stolen eggs from a marauding fox, earning proper recognition, acceptance--and, most likely, loud requests for repeat readings from delighted audiences. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

BookPage Reviews 2010 September
Chicken Big finds a flock of friends

You know the story: Chicken Little and her rhyming cast of friends run pell-mell through the woods, convinced that the sky is falling. Well, think again.

Our story begins with an egg—a very BIG egg. Out of that egg emerges an enormous chick. The other barnyard chickens are perplexed. “What is it?” they cry. The smallest chicken declares it an elephant, and the fun begins.

As in the traditional tale, an acorn drops from a tree and the birds take off in a panic. In Keith Graves’ ridiculously comical retelling, however, rain surely means “the sky is leaking” and a chill wind indicates that “someone has put the world in a refrigerator.” When a fox comes calling, the larger-than-life chicken must save the day with cleverness, kindness and bravery.

Young children will delight in this zany rendition, in which humorous dialogue is enhanced by the opportunity for adult readers to add a chorus of chicken squawks. Pencil line drawings with muted colors make an exception for the bright yellow main character who makes a bold statement throughout the tale.

Like all fables, Chicken Big is at its best when the moral emerges. Regardless of our appearance, we all long to be accepted, and readers will be touched that Chicken Big finds a flock of friends willing to make room for him in the coop.



Copyright 2010 BookPage Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Spring
When a gigantic chick hatches from an egg, the farm's other birds are convinced that he's a squirrel (because he eats an acorn), an umbrella (because he protects everyone from rain), etc. The book's considerable humor coexists easily with its don't-let-others-define-you message. The art, including spreads and cartoon panels, features great dumb-bird reaction shots. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2010 September #1
"On a teeny little farm, in an itty-bitty coop, a very small hen laid a big, humongous egg"—and, of course, out of that egg hatches a big, humongous chick. He is so big (he looks like a giant yellow pear with a yellow bowl cut looming over the other barnyard fowl) none of the other chickens knows quite what he is. "It's an elephant!" surmises the dimwitted smallest chicken. When an acorn falls and bonks her on the head, she begins the whole sky-is-falling shtick. Chicken Big reassures the panicking chickens—"It's only an acorn. They're actually quite tasty"—and is promptly relabeled a squirrel. Graves rings the changes on the atmospheric woes that might confuse a chicken, causing Chicken Big to go through numerous incarnations: Next he's an umbrella, then a sweater ("This is getting ridiculous," he thinks). The illustrations maximize the goof factor inherent in Chicken Big's babyish colossalness next to the tiny adult chickens, and they incorporate speech bubbles and some sequential panels to advance the foolery. For all kids who know they are really smarter than the grown-ups. (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Media Connection Reviews 2011 January/February
From the author of Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance (Chronicle Books, 1999) comes this hilarious version of the "Chicken Little" story, and it delivers BIG laughs. Contrasting big and little brilliantly, the scene is set in an itty bitty chicken coop on a tiny little farm. A gigantic new member of the family is born. The chickens are confused. A tiny rooster and two other tiny chickens cluck back and forth throughout the book in short, funny dialogue. When the new guy saves the day, he not only becomes recognized as a real chicken but also as a true member of the family. This book would be a hit as a read-aloud, and would be a terrific book to adapt to an impromptu Reader's Theater with students. The littlest chicken is packed with personality. Her signature line, "Run for your lives!" could be a role played by a student brilliantly. The colors in the illustrations have an old school comic book feel to them-you just can't help but smile as you spend time with the book. Graves s a comic genius. Recommended. Jennifer Coleman, Library Media Specialist, St. Gabriel's, Austin, Texas ¬ 2011 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 September #1
Compared to panicky Chicken Little, Chicken Big is unflappable. Born "on a teeny little farm, in an itty-bitty coop," this newborn towers over four fellow chickens, who decide he must be an elephant (his stature recalls the "Hyde and Go Tweet" Merrie Melodies cartoon featuring Tweety and Sylvester). When something drops on the smallest hen, she yelps, "The sky is falling!" Chicken Big calmly says, "It's only an acorn. They're actually quite tasty." He is equally placid and helpful when the ditsy chickens freak out over the rain and wind, revising their guesses about his identity"Apparently, he is an umbrella!" When a fox steals their eggs and Chicken Big foils the crime, they finally figure it out: "Only one thing could be so smart, so kind, so warm, and so brave." Graves (Desert Rose and Her Highfalutin Hog) renders his fowl in a palette of gray-blue, taupe, and wheat yellow, with exuberant voice bubbles that highlight the ridiculousness of the smaller chickens' assertions. Graves has great fun at their expensepreserving the message that fools jump to hasty conclusionsand kids will, too. Ages 48. (Sept.) Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC

School Library Journal Reviews 2010 October

PreS-Gr 2--The pint-size poultry are as brainless as ever in this quirky revision of the classic "Chicken Little" tale, but the hero here is mysterious Chicken Big. Is he an elephant? The smaller chickens are sure that he could not be one of them and exclude him from the coop. When an acorn falls on the smallest one's head, she thinks the sky is falling. But when clear-headed Chicken Big explains what it is and pops it into his mouth, the other chickens decide that he must really be a squirrel. Chicken Big's unwilling companions arrive at one ridiculous conclusion after another. He protects them from the rain, so he could be an umbrella. He keeps them warm in a cold breeze, so he could be a sweater. When all the eggs go missing and Chicken Big saves the day, the others realize that "only one thing could be so smart, so kind, so warm, and so brave." (A chicken, of course.) Graves's pastel-hued illustrations with comic-style panels have a spontaneous and quirky quality reminiscent of Mo Willems's Pigeon and Leonardo books, and thoughtful design plays up the disproportionate size of Chicken Big. An amusing tale that will draw giggles from preschool and early elementary read-aloud audiences, this is a fun addition to any collection or comparative folklore unit.--Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI

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