cover image The Story of Chicken Licken

The Story of Chicken Licken

Jan Ormerod, Jan Crmerod. Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Books, $13 (26pp) ISBN 978-0-688-06058-9

In the shadows of an audience of parents, engrossed in a production of Chicken Licken that's taking place on stage, a baby crawls out of its carrier and makes a break for the spotlight. This is but one of the many subplots that takes place in Ormerod's distinctly original version of the classic story. A freckle-faced young narrator solemnly orates most of the action, while children speak the words of Henny Penny, Cock Lock, Drake Lake and quick-witted Foxy Woxy. The parents, in silhouette, seem to enjoy the showexcept for one bearded man who falls asleep, and one of the performer's fidgety younger brothers, who gets shushed periodically by his mother. But the baby, both in the book and on stage, steals the show, climbing into the light just in time to give the lulled audience a big laugh. Children will laugh, too, as they flip the pages back and forth, observing different audience members at different points in the play. With her usual gift for subtlety, Ormerod has given readers a chance to view Chicken Licken and the rest of the gang in a newand very funnylight. (26)