In this warmhearted picture book, two farmyard outcasts take solace in their taboo friendship. Though the pigs and the chickens down on the farm are always polite to each other, they would never dream of socializing. That's why the henhouse really starts clucking when Lila, a chicken, cottons to Albert, a pig. The two pals couldn't be more different on the outside, but they come from similar circumstances: Lila has been ostracized because she can no longer lay eggs; Albert suffers ridicule because he's albino. When the two kindred spirits team up, there's no limit to what they can do-even if it's saving their tormentors from a wily fox. Schami's pleasant tone and gentle pace envelop a message about tolerance and shattering stereotypes. In boisterous scenes befitting the story's barnyard setting, Cools and Streich (previously teamed with Schami for Fatima and the Dream Thief) introduce perky pink porkers and a fancifully colored flock of chickens. Their compositions range from tall and dramatic portraits that make good use of the oversize pages to smaller horizontal panels or blocks, and employ the shades of a sunny blue summer sky, a pungent brown dung heap and purplish moonlit shadows. The story's tidy, familiar conclusion will leave few readers guessing, but Schami's positive theme is one that bears repeating. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/02/1999 Release date: 08/01/1999 Genre: Children's
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