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*Chicken Big* by Keith Graves
Also written and/or illustrated by Keith Graves:

The World's Greatest: Poems
Chicken Big
by Keith Graves
Ages 3-8 40 pages Chronicle August 2010 Hardcover    

Readers who enjoy the Pigeon books by Mo Willems or the Dust Bunny books by Jan Thomas will enjoy this newest picture book by Keith Graves. It references Chicken Little, and the humor is non-stop.

Rooster and his three chicken friends think they’re smart, but they repeatedly come to the wrong conclusion about the enormous chicken that has just hatched in their chicken coop.
“‘It’s big!” clucked the small chicken.

‘It’s enormous!’ clucked the smaller chicken.

‘It’s an elephant!’ peeped the smallest chicken.”
When they notice him eating the acorn that fell from the sky, they change their minds: “He must be a squirrel!”

Their errors continue as they label him an umbrella and then a sweater. They don’t come to the realization that he’s a real chicken until they see him do something heroic: he retrieves their stolen eggs from a disheveled-looking red fox.

The illustrations in this story (rendered in pencil and digital media) are as hilarious as the dialogue. In front of the chicken coop, the chickens have erected a “No Elephants Allowed” sign. While the rooster measures the height of Chicken Big with a measuring tape he says “Indoor elephants are dangerous!” The smallest chicken’s eyes go cross-eyed when an acorn lands on her head, and when Chicken Big sleeps in the chicken coop, his lower body is left sticking out of the doorway. The humor, which begins on the front jacket flap, extends to the back cover.

Children will be happy that Chicken Big is finally accepted by the others, but to understand the similarities between Chicken Little and the smallest chicken in this book, they should be read the story of Chicken Little first. This story is good for story time, as a read-aloud for a grade one or two class, or for a reader’s theatre script.

Keith Graves is the author and illustrator of several children’s books, including Frank Was a Monster Who Wanted to Dance. He lives in Texas.

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  Tanya Boudreau/2011 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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