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Tag Archives | Megan McDonald

Books about Chickens

Whether a chick­en makes you cluck, BAWK! or cheep-cheep-cheep, books about chick­ens make us laugh. We may not have been intro­duced to a chick­en in real life but, trust me, some peo­ple keep them as egg-lay­ing won­ders and oth­er peo­ple keep them as pets. These fowl have been around in many col­ors, types, and breeds in most coun­tries in the world … and quite recent­ly they have become the sub­ject of many books. Go, chick­ens! We’ve sug­gest­ed 19 books. What would you add as the 20th book on this list?

The Perfect Nest  

The Per­fect Nest
writ­ten by Cather­ine Friend
illus­trat­ed by John Man­ders
Hen­ry Holt, 2011

Farmer Jack, the cat, is build­ing a nest to attract a chick­en who will lay eggs for his mouth-water­ing omelet. Things don’t go quite as planned. Oth­er birds find the nest to be per­fect, too. The eggs hatch and Jack is sud­den­ly tend­ing to lit­tle chicks who think he’s their father. The book is laugh-out-loud fun­ny and makes a great read-aloud. Each of the per­fect nest’s occu­pants speaks with a dif­fer­ent accent.

Hoboken Chicken Emergency

 

The Hobo­ken Chick­en Emer­gency
Daniel Pinkwa­ter
illus by Jill Pinkwa­ter
Simon & Schus­ter, 1977

A clas­sic book that will keep your kids laugh­ing with every page turn. Arthur Bobow­icz is sent to get the Thanks­giv­ing turkey but there are none to be had. On the way home, he sees a sign in Pro­fes­sor Mazzocchi’s win­dow (you know him, the inven­tor of the Chick­en Sys­tem). Arthur ends up tak­ing a chick­en home but it’s a 266-pound live chick­en named Hen­ri­et­ta. She gets loose … and caus­es dis­as­ter all over Hobo­ken, New Jer­sey. A good read-aloud but also the per­fect book for 9- and 10-year-olds to read.

Beautiful Yetta  

Beau­ti­ful Yet­ta: the Yid­dish Chick­en
Daniel Pinkwa­ter
illus by Jill Pinkwa­ter
Fei­wel & Friends, 2010

Yet­ta, the chick­en, escapes from a poul­try truck in Brook­lyn and is soon lost, lone­ly, and hun­gry, shunned by the rats and pigeons she encoun­ters. Hero­ical­ly, she saves a lit­tle green bird, Eduar­do, from a cat, win­ning the grat­i­tude of his friends, the par­rots. They teach Yet­ta how to find food and how to get along in an unfa­mil­iar place. The book is filled with Yid­dish, Span­ish, and Eng­lish phras­es and Yetta’s speech appears in both Hebrew and Eng­lish alpha­bets. Your kids will soon be exclaim­ing about the “farsh­tunken katz”!

The Little Red Hen  

The Lit­tle Red Hen
Paul Gal­done
Houghton Mif­flin Har­court, 2011 (reis­sued)

When the Hen asks for help plant­i­ng wheat, the cat, the dog, and the mouse all say “No!” They won’t help her water it, or har­vest it, or grind it. They are quite lazy. When the Lit­tle Red Hen bakes a deli­cious cake, who will be invit­ed to eat it? Ages 4 to 11.

Chicken Man  

Chick­en Man
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Michelle Edwards
1991, repub­lished in 2009 by North­South Books

Rody lives on a kib­butz in Israel, where he is assigned to tend to the chick­ens. He comes to love them and they him. He sings loud­ly with joy. And thus oth­er kib­butz work­ers think the chick­en house must be the best place to work and Rody is re-assigned to anoth­er job.  The chick­ens stop lay­ing eggs. And Rody miss­es his chick­ens.  How will Rody find his way back to his favorite job? A good look at life on a kibbutz.

Chickens to the Rescue  

Chick­ens to the Res­cue
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by John Him­mel­man
Hen­ry Holt, 2006

On the Green­stalk farm, things are con­tin­u­al­ly going wrong. Mon­day through Sat­ur­day, when things need to be done, it’s the chick­ens to the res­cue! In hilar­i­ous attire, with laugh-out-loud results, the good-inten­tioned chick­ens help ani­mals and humans alike. Except on Sun­day. Then they rest. The illus­tra­tions in this book are delightful.

Interrupting Chickens  

Inter­rupt­ing Chick­en
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by David Ezra Stein
Can­dlewick Press, 2010

Papa is good about read­ing bed­time sto­ries to Lit­tle Red Chick­en, but she can’t help but inter­rupt his read­ing to warn the char­ac­ters in the books about what’s to come. Which, of course, brings an abrupt end to the sto­ries. Papa asks Lit­tle Red to write her own sto­ry but Papa inter­rupts … by snor­ing. It’s a charm­ing book, sure to cause gig­gles … and it brings some clas­sic tales to life. Calde­cott Hon­or book.

First the Egg  

First the Egg
writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Lau­ra Vac­caro Seeger
Roar­ing Brook Press, 2007

It’s a book of trans­for­ma­tions, from cater­pil­lar to but­ter­fly, from tad­pole to frog, from egg to chick­en, and more. Illus­trat­ed with lus­cious col­or and sim­ple die-cuts, this is an engag­ing con­cept book for the preschool crowd. Calde­cott Hon­or book.

Chicken Cheeks  

Chick­en Cheeks
Michael Ian Black
illus­trat­ed by Kevin Hawkes
Simon & Schus­ter, 2009

Bear enlists all the oth­er ani­mals to make a tow­er so he can get at some elu­sive hon­ey. The hilar­i­ty comes from the view of many ani­mal bot­toms, 16 ways to refer to those bot­toms, and the unsta­ble, improb­a­ble, tee­ter­ing tow­er of gig­gle-wor­thy animals.

Chicks and Salsa  

Chicks and Sal­sa
Aaron Reynolds
illus­trat­ed by Paulette Bogan
Blooms­bury, 2007

The ani­mals on Nuthatch­er Farm are bored with their food. The roost­er looks around and hatch­es a plan. They will eat chips and sal­sa made from the ingre­di­ents on the farm! The sal­sa recipe changes to accom­mo­date each animal’s pref­er­ences. It’s so excit­ing they decide to have a fies­ta! But when the day comes, the humans have abscond­ed with their ingre­di­ents to enter into the state fair. What will the ani­mals do? Thanks to the quick-think­ing roost­er and a resource­ful rat, the par­ty goes on!

Chicken in the Kitchen  

Chick­en in the Kitchen
Nne­di Oko­rafor
illus­trat­ed by Mehrdokht Ami­ni
Lan­tana Pub­lish­ing, 2015

Set in Nige­ria, a young girl awakes to a noise in the mid­dle of the night. When she inves­ti­gates, she dis­cov­ers a giant chick­en in the kitchen. Hilar­i­ty ensues. Noth­ing is quite what it seems. Will Anyau­go be able to pro­tect the tra­di­tion­al foods her aun­ties have pre­pared for the New Yam Fes­ti­val? Gor­geous illus­tra­tions and a good look at the mas­quer­ade cul­ture of West Africa. 

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?  

Why Did the Chick­en Cross the Road?
illus­trat­ed by Jon Agee, Tedd Arnold, Har­ry Bliss, David Catrow, Mar­la Frazee, Mary Grand­Pre, Lynn Mun­singer, Jer­ry Pinkney, Vladimir Kan­dun­sky, Chris Rasch­ka, Judy Schachn­er, David Shan­non, Gus She­ban, and Mo Willems
Dial Books, 2006

When 14 illus­tra­tors are asked “why did the chick­en cross the road?” their answers are fresh and fun and var­ied. They’ll delight you with their orig­i­nal takes on this old chestnut.

Hattie and the Fox  

Hat­tie and the Fox
Mem Fox
illus­trat­ed by Patri­cia Mullins
Simon & Schus­ter, 1987

In a cumu­la­tive tale with plen­ty of oppor­tu­ni­ty for dif­fer­ent voic­es and great ener­gy while read­ing out loud, we learn that Hat­tie, the black hen, spies a fox in the bush­es. She tries to warn the oth­er ani­mals but they don’t believe her. A won­der­ful pas­tiche of antic­i­pa­tion, rep­e­ti­tion, and the illustrator’s vivid use of tis­sue paper col­lage and con­te cray­on make this an excel­lent choice for sto­ry­time and anytime.

Hen Hears Gossip  

Hen Hears Gos­sip
Megan McDon­ald
illus­trat­ed by Joung Un Kim
Green­wil­low, 2008

Psst. Psst. Psst.” Hen is addict­ed to gos­sip, espe­cial­ly about her­self. When she over­hears Pig whis­per­ing a secret to Cow, Hen spreads it around until it returns to her with a not-so-nice ren­di­tion. Read­ing this book pro­vides a good oppor­tu­ni­ty to talk about the ways gos­sip hurts. 

Big Chickens  

Big Chick­ens
Leslie Helakos­ki
illus­trat­ed by Hen­ry Cole
Dut­ton, 2006

When a wolf threat­ens the chick­en coop, the chick­ens RUN! They’re ter­ri­fied and they want to get away. The fun ensues as they get into one hilar­i­ous predica­ment after anoth­er. It’s the exact kind of sil­ly kids love and Hen­ry Cole’s illus­tra­tions rein­force the goofy chick­ens’ reac­tions to the chaos they create.

Chicken Followed Me Home!  

A Chick­en Fol­lowed Me Home:
Ques­tions and Answers about a Famil­iar Fowl
Robin Page
Beach Lane Books, 2015

What would you do if a chick­en fol­lowed you home? You’d learn to tell what kind of chick­en it is, what it would like to eat, and how to keep it safe and healthy. You’d observe how many eggs a chick­en lays in a year and how a chick­en is dif­fer­ent than a roost­er. With bold illus­tra­tions, this book will appeal to both younger and old­er children.

Kids Guide to Keeping Chickens  

A Kid’s Guide to Keep­ing Chick­ens:
Best Breeds, Cre­at­ing a Home,
Care and Han­dling, Out­door Fun, Crafts and Treats
Melis­sa Caugh­ey
Storey Pub­lish­ing, 2015

Filled with won­der­ful pho­tos and prac­ti­cal advice for kids who would like to raise chick­ens … whether in the city or out in the coun­try.  The book sug­gests ways to con­sid­er chick­ens as pets, offer­ing crafts to con­nect with your barn­yard beau­ties: build them a fort, learn to speak chick­en, and cre­ate a veg­gie piña­ta for them. Egg-celent egg ecipes are avail­able, too.

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer  

Unusu­al Chick­ens for the Excep­tion­al Poul­try Farmer
Kel­ly Jones
illus by Katie Kath
Knopf Books for Young Read­ers, 2015

Mov­ing from Los Ange­les to a farm her fam­i­ly inher­it­ed, Sophie Brown and her moth­er and father are reluc­tant farm­ers. Sophie feels iso­lat­ed, which she tack­les by writ­ing let­ters to her abuela and to Agnes of Red­wood Farm Sup­ply. You see, Sophie’s great-uncle kept chick­ens. One-by-one they come home to roost and Sophie dis­cov­ers they are not ordi­nary chick­ens … they have pow­ers. Are they mag­i­cal? Super­nat­ur­al? They’re cer­tain­ly unusu­al and neigh­bors will do just about any­thing to claim them. A fun­ny, mid­dle-grade nov­el, Unusu­al Chick­ens will have read­er want­i­ng to become Excep­tion­al Poul­try Farmers.

Prairie Evers  

Prairie Evers
Ellen Air­good
Nan­cy Paulsen Books, 2012

Prairie Evers moves from North Car­oli­na to upstate New York, where her fam­i­ly claims an inher­it­ed farm. She’s going to attend a pub­lic school for the first time. Up until now, Prairie has been home­schooled and hav­ing class­mates is a new expe­ri­ence. When Ivy Blake becomes her first-ever friend, Prairie real­izes Ivy’s home life is not a hap­py one. The Evers invite Ivy to spend time with them … and Prairie finds that a new expe­ri­ence, too. This mid­dle-grade nov­el  has great infor­ma­tion about the chick­ens Prairie is rais­ing … and a lot about friend­ship, opti­mism, and loyalty.

Cheater for the Chicken Man  

Cheat­ing for the Chick­en Man
Priscil­la Cum­mings
Dut­ton, 2015

A seri­ous YA nov­el set on a chick­en farm, this is a com­pan­ion to two ear­li­er books in the Red Kayak series. Now Kate is deal­ing with her father’s death, her mother’s grief, and her broth­er J.T.’s return home from a juve­nile deten­tion camp where he served a sen­tence for sec­ond-degree mur­der. She wants to give her broth­er a chance at a fresh start but it’s a daunt­ing task.

My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me  

My Paint­ed House, My Friend­ly Chick­en, and Me
Maya Angelou
pho­tographs by Mar­garet Court­ney Clarke
Crown, 2003

Hel­lo, Stranger-Friend” begins Maya Angelou’s sto­ry about Than­di, a South African Nde­bele girl, her mis­chie­vous broth­er, her beloved chick­en, and the aston­ish­ing mur­al art pro­duced by the women of her tribe.  With nev­er-before-seen pho­tographs of the very pri­vate Nde­bele women and their paint­ings, this unique book shows the pass­ing of tra­di­tions from par­ent to child and intro­duces young read­ers to a new cul­ture through a new friend. Thanks to Nan­cy Bo Flood for sug­gest­ing this title.

 

Our com­menters have added:

  • The Plot Chick­ens by Mary Jane and Herb Auch
  • Wings: a Tale of Two Chick­ens by James Marshall
  • Chick­en Squad: the First Mis­ad­ven­ture by Doreen Cronin, illus by Kevin Cornell
  • Hen­ny by Eliz­a­beth Rose Stanton

chicken books

How about you? What’s your favorite chick­en book?

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Katherine Tillotson: Illustrating Shoe Dog

bk_shoe-dog1Shoe Dog

writ­ten by Megan McDon­ald
illus­tra­tions by Kather­ine Tillot­son
Richard Jack­son Books / Simon & Schus­ter, 2014

Your illus­tra­tion of the Shoe Dog is so unusu­al. What inspired you to use this ropy scribble?

Shoe Dog sketchWhen I first visu­al­ized Shoe Dog, it was as a black and white bull ter­ri­er. In fact, I cre­at­ed an entire book dum­my with that image. I had even asked a woman in the neigh­bor­hood if I could use her bull ter­ri­er as a mod­el. But there was some­thing about my sketch­es that did­n’t feel quite right to me and when I hap­pened to come across some scrib­bly side­walk chalk draw­ings made by chil­dren, I imme­di­ate­ly went home and began revis­ing my sketch­es. It was the ener­gy and life in the chil­dren’s pic­tures that inspired me.

What tools did you use to cre­ate the var­i­ous ele­ments in the book, such as the move­ment lines, the speech bub­bles, the fence, the exot­ic shoes?

Artwork from Shoe DogI have always been attract­ed by col­lage. In the past, I have enjoyed cut­ting up pat­terned paper and arrang­ing the pieces in unex­pect­ed ways. The com­put­er has made it pos­si­ble to re-imag­ine the tech­nique of col­lage. Now I am able to com­bine marks that would have been impos­si­ble to mix if I was work­ing conventionally.

I love to work with hand­made marks. For Shoe Dog I used marks made by a bray­er, cray­on rub­bings, a flat pen­cil and char­coal, then col­laged them in the computer.

What did you do to “loosen up” your line for the high­ly active Shoe Dog?

I have recent­ly been exper­i­ment­ing in water­col­or and I find that by the time I have ren­dered any more than five lay­ers, I am com­plete­ly stiff and tight. I think that ten­sion is caused by the fear that the entire paint­ing can be ruined with the next brush stroke. In con­trast, Shoe Dog­gie was a loosey-goosey ride. Since I was using the com­put­er, I knew that I could scrib­ble and scrib­ble until I cre­at­ed a dog I want­ed to use. Know that I could make tons of mis­takes helped me to keep the mark-mak­ing loose and relaxed.

Color MovesHow do you go about choos­ing a col­or palette? It’s so lumi­nous that it exudes good cheer, until we get to the BAD DOG! part of the book. Mar­velous con­trast. You express so well some­thing we’ve all felt.

Thank you! I always try many col­or com­bi­na­tions until one feels right. I have to give a call-out to Atheneum’s Excec­u­tive Art Direc­tor, Ann Bob­co. From time to time she sends me inspir­ing pack­ages. While I was work­ing on a col­or palette for Shoe Dog, Ann sent me the book, Col­or Moves: Art & Fash­ion by Sonia Delau­nay. The fab­rics of Sonia Delau­nay great­ly influ­enced my col­or choices.

Did you select the font used through­out the book or did the book design­er do that? Is it usu­al for an illus­tra­tor to choose the book’s font? What was it about this font that you felt suit­ed the book?

Cred­it for the font choice goes to Ann Bob­co. I love the bounce and ani­ma­tion it gives to the words.

In my expe­ri­ence, it is unusu­al for the illus­tra­tor to choose the book font. How­ev­er, I know that there are many excep­tions. Recent­ly, I was read­ing The Adven­tures of Beek­le writ­ten and illus­trat­ed by Dan San­tat. I looked to see what font had been used and it was Santat.

How did you go about decid­ing to leave human faces out of the book?

I am so glad you asked! I believe that it was orig­i­nal­ly Megan who sug­gest­ed that the woman in the sto­ry, She, Her­self, would be a pres­ence, a very sig­nif­i­cant pres­ence, but just off-cam­era. She, Her­self would be most­ly hid­den until the very end. It was par­tic­u­lar­ly chal­leng­ing to fig­ure out how to estab­lish the close­ness between woman and dog ear­ly in the sto­ry. I want­ed a hug. The solu­tion was to adorn She Her­self with a very large hat.

Shoe Dog

Illus­tra­tion from Shoe Dog.

 Did you and the author, Megan McDon­ald, talk togeth­er about the art for this book?

We spoke a tee­ny tiny bit at the begin­ning of the art mak­ing. Megan and I do speak reg­u­lar­ly, but usu­al­ly not about any books that are under­way. We both fol­low our cus­tom­ary prac­tice of com­mu­ni­cat­ing about the book with Dick Jack­son, our most excel­lent edi­tor. This arrange­ment works well for everyone.

Are you already work­ing on your next project?

I am! A night­time sto­ry set in a for­est. Then I am going for a romp in the moun­tains with anoth­er story.

 

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Bank Street’s 2010 Choices

We eager­ly await the annu­al list of books cho­sen by the Bank Street Col­lege of Edu­ca­tion as books that work well with chil­dren from birth to age 14. Each year, the Chil­dren’s Book Com­mit­tee reviews over 6000 titles each year for accu­ra­cy and lit­er­ary qual­i­ty and con­sid­ers their emo­tion­al impact on chil­dren. It choos­es the best 600 books, both fic­tion and non­fic­tion, which it lists accord­ing to age and category.… more
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Best Read-Aloud Picture Books

Read­ing out loud is a low-cost, high-pay­back activ­i­ty. It ben­e­fits both the read­er and the lis­ten­er. Life­long bonds are often formed between peo­ple who engage in this activ­i­ty. Make read­ing out loud a can’t-miss half hour in your home, class­room, day­care, place of wor­ship, library, or work­place. The results may sur­prise you. “Best Read Aloud Pic­ture Books, is a new online bib­li­og­ra­phy avail­able from the Cur­ricu­lum Mate­ri­als Cen­ter at Liv­ingston Lord Library, Min­neso­ta State Uni­ver­si­ty Moorhead. … more
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