Surprise! The little red chicken is back -- and as endearingly silly as ever -- in David Ezra Stein's follow-up to the Caldecott Honor-winning Interrupting Chicken.
It's homework time for the little red chicken, who has just learned about something every good story should have: an elephant of surprise. Or could it be an element of surprise (as her amused papa explains)? As they dive in to story after story, looking for the part that makes a reader say "Whoa! I didn't know that was going to happen," Papa is sure he can convince Chicken he's right. After all, there are definitely no elephants in "The Ugly Duckling," "Rapunzel," or "The Little Mermaid" -- or are there?
Elephant or element, something unexpected awaits Papa in every story, but a surprise may be in store for the little red chicken as well. Full of the same boisterous charm that made Interrupting Chicken so beloved by readers, this gleeful follow-up is sure to delight fans of stories, surprises, and elephants alike.
In the eponymous Chicken's post-Caldecott Honor book, she learns something new in school: "Every story has an elephant of surprise." Papa--whose bright red crest and spade-shaped feet match Chicken's--gently explains that it's element, not elephant. To demonstrate, Papa reads "The Ugly Duckling." The storybook open on Papa's lap, Stein's art transforms from the smudgy, warm tones of the cozy reading nook to a pastoral storybook scene rendered in pen and ink. As the Ugly Duckling is about to glimpse his reflection, a page turn introduces a blue elephant wearing wings: "Surprise! I'm an elephant!" The elephant returns in readings of "Rapunzel" (with thick braids) and "The Little Mermaid" (sporting a bikini). A final story--written by Papa and illustrated by Chicken--demonstrates that, despite Papa's best efforts, the "elephant of surprise" is here to stay. Stein masterfully builds suspense with each imbedded story, for a gag that only gets more fun with each reveal. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
PreS-Gr 2—The precocious Chicken and her papa are back in this sequel to Interrupting Chicken. Chicken has learned at school about the element of surprise in storytelling. She interprets this as the elephant of surprise. When Papa reads classic tales aloud to Chicken, she interrupts to point out the "whoa!" moment. The "whoa!" moment always includes an elephant interjected into the story. Papa decides to tell his own story, without elephants. Despite his efforts, an elephant ends up in his story, too. A mixture of watercolor, crayon, marker, pen, white ink and tea magically come together to create delightfully uncommon illustrations. Vibrant and warm colors bring Chicken and Papa to life. Spreads from the storybooks Papa reads aloud, including text and classic illustrations, immerse readers in the tale. The story page illustrations also include Chicken's artistic additions, drawn onto the page, of an adorable blue elephant complete with chat bubbles. When Papa makes up his own story, Chicken illustrates it for him. These illustrations again depict the story pages with Chicken's childlike drawings in crayon. The prose matches the vibrancy of the illustrations with humorous dialogue between Chicken and her patient Papa. VERDICT Multiple award-winning author and illustrator Stein has created a noteworthy title for library shelves in addition to his already beloved collection of picture books. A terrific choice for one-on-one and small group sharing.—Mindy Hiatt, Salt Lake County Library ServicesCopyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.