cover image Little Chicken Chicken

Little Chicken Chicken

David Martin. Candlewick Press (MA), $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56402-381-0

Unlike Chicken Little, this story's title character doesn't worry about the sky falling. All the same, Little Chicken Chicken has an overactive imagination. Other chickens make fun of her for calling a string a tightrope and pretending that some black rocks ""fell out of a thundercloud... that's why they're so dark."" After her juggling and playful antics distract her coop-mates from a frightening thunderstorm, however, her talents are finally appreciated. Martin, author of the Lizzie series, earnestly encourages readers who dare to be different; still, neither Little Chicken Chicken's uninspired name nor her ""thunderstorm circus"" conjures real excitement. Heap's (Mouse Party) stylized chickens-watercolored in ochre, rusty brown and gray against aqua-green grass-are seen only in flat profile. Their simply drawn shapes, smiling beaks and large, un-birdlike eyes make them suitable for kitchen decorations-but such conventional illustrations just don't add up to an unconventional character. Ages 3-6. (Mar.)