Chicken Big

Keith Graves, Author
Keith Graves, Chronicle, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8118-7237-9
Reviewed on: 09/06/2010
Release date: 08/01/2010
Paperback - 40 pages - 978-1-4521-3146-7
Prebound-Glued - 40 pages - 978-0-606-35290-1
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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 expense—preserving the message that fools jump to hasty conclusions—and kids will, too. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
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