cover image I Got a Chicken for My Birthday

I Got a Chicken for My Birthday

Laura Gehl, illus. by Sarah Horne. Carolrhoda, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5124-3130-8

Though Ana had asked her Abuela Lola for amusement park tickets for her birthday, she receives a chicken instead. Disappointed but good-natured, Ana reasons that the fowl is a better gift than socks or underwear—and she does like scrambled eggs. But her chicken has other plans in mind: after making a long and eclectic shopping list (items include a cement mixer, fireworks, and 85 rubber ducks), the chicken recruits Ana’s pets to help with a secret construction project. Gehl’s matter-of-fact narration, built around repetition of the title, offers a dry contrast to the outlandish goings-on. The chicken, who communicates solely via written placards, eventually directs Ana to send for her Abuela, who arrives via bulldozer to help reveal the amusement park that the chicken has built. Filled with splashy colors and textures, Horne’s mixed-media pictures playfully fiddle with perspective and scale while including details that step up the fun: the seats on the roller-coaster are giant eggshells, and Abuela Lola rocks a purple updo. An oddball birthday tale with heart. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Erzsi Deàk, Hen & Ink Literary Studio. (Mar.)