Interrupting Chicken (Interrupting Chicken #1)

by David Ezra Stein (Author) David Ezra Stein (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

It's time for the little red chicken's bedtime story--and a reminder from Papa to try not to interrupt. But the chicken can't help herself! Whether the tale is Hansel and Gretel or Little Red Riding Hood or even Chicken Little, she jumps into the story to save its hapless characters from doing some dangerous or silly thing.

Now it's the little red chicken's turn to tell a story, but will her yawning papa make it to the end without his own kind of interrupting? Energetically illustrated with glowing colors--and offering humorous story-within-a-story views--this all-too-familiar tale is sure to amuse (and hold the attention of ) spirited little chicks.

Awarded a 2011 Caldecott Honor! A favorite joke inspires this charming tale, in which a little chicken's habit of interrupting bedtime stories is gleefully turned on its head.

More books in the series - See All

Hornbook Guide to Children

A "little red chicken" keeps interrupting Papa's bedtime stories in order to save the day (e.g., telling Chicken Little, "It was just an acorn!"). With a reversal of roles, the little chicken discovers exactly how it feels to be interrupted. Humorously repetitive text draws readers in with just enough variation, while the lush mixed-media illustrations exude warmth and love.

Copyright 2011 Hornbook, LLC Used with permission.

Kirkus Reviews

 Closing with an intimate snuggle after Papa instantly dozes off, this tender iteration of a familiar nighttime ritual will be equally welcomed by fond parents and those children for whom listening to stories is anything but a passive activity. (Picture book. 4-6)

Copyright 2010 Kirkus Reviews, LLC Used with permission.


Differences in medium and style differentiate between scenes taking place in the folktales and in the main story. Created with watercolor, water-soluble crayon, and pen and ink, the illustrations are vivid and dramatic. Great fun for reading aloud.

Copyright 2010 Booklist, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

Stein's earlier books did not foretell an ability to pull off broad comedy, but this father-and-daughter bedtime banter is all the better for being a surprise. A little red chicken, lying in bed in her pajamas, can't help slamming on the brakes when Papa's read-aloud stories get too tense: "Out jumped a little red chicken," she cuts in as Papa reads Hansel and Gretel, "and she said, DON'T GO IN! SHE'S A WITCH!' So Hansel and Gretel didn't. THE END!" Stein's spreads are thickly and energetically worked, the colors intense, and the lighting and shadows dramatic. For Papa's bedtime stories, Stein (Leaves) shifts styles, inking each scene in spindly ink; when the chicken interrupts, she bursts onto the sepia pages in full color. And when, after cutting short three of Papa's stories, she starts in on a tale of her own, Stein switches again to preschooler crayon, as her sleepy father interrupts in his own way. The delivery is Catskill perfect; readers will fall hard for the antics of this hapless pair. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) 

Copyright 2010 Publisher’s Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2—In a picture book that is as charming and comic as "Pouch!"(Putnam, 2009), Stein again represents an affectionate parent's trials with a vigorous child. At bedtime, despite a rooster papa's best efforts to share classic fairy tales with his daughter, Little Red Chicken's soft heart means she can't help but jump into each story to warn Hansel and Gretel and then Red Riding Hood about impending danger, and to assure Chicken Little: "Don't panic! It was just an acorn." In each case, the story abruptly ends, wearying the father with what to do next. When he convinces his daughter to compose her own story, she fills four pages with preschool-style spelling and drawings about a chicken putting her papa to bed, but her tale is interrupted by Papa's snores. At the end, the pair cuddle together, asleep. Stein's droll cartoons use watercolor, crayon, china marker, pen, and tea. The rich colors of the characters perfectly contrast with the sepia pages of the storybooks. This is one of the rare titles that will entertain both parent and child.—Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA

Copyright 2010 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

David Ezra Stein
David Ezra Stein is an author-illustrator whose previous books include Leaves, winner of an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award. He lives in Kew Gardens, New York.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
August 20, 2010
Interrupting Chicken
Age Range
4 - 8 years
Caldecott Medal
Honor Book 2011
Winner 2010
Golden Kite
Honor Book 2011
Kentucky Bluegrass Award
Nominee 2012
Georgia Children's Book Award
Nominee 2012
Buckeye Children's Book Award
Nominee 2011
Buckaroo Book Award
Nominee 2012
Colorado Children's Book Award
Nominee 2012
Grand Canyon Reader Award
Nominee 2012
North Carolina Children's Book Award
Nominee 2012
Volunteer State Book Awards
Runner-Up 2013
Ladybug Picture Book Award
Nominee 2011
Delaware Diamonds Award
Nominee 2012
Missouri Building Block Picture Book Award
Second Place 2011
Nevada Young Readers' Award
Nominee 2012
Monarch Award
Third Place 2012
Golden Archer Award
Nominee 2012
Young Hoosier Book Award
Nominee 2013
California Young Reader Medal
Nominee 2014
Arkansas Diamond Primary Book Award
Winner 2013
Florida Children's Book Award
Winner 2015
Golden Sower Award
Nominee 2014

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