Big Chickens Go to Town

Overview

Why did the chickens cross the road? To get to town, of course! When those four lily-livered chickens are accidentally dumped off the farmer's truck, they have no choice but to follow the feed trail through a day of crazy hijinks. What ensues is a raucous adventure through town, including foreign food, weird noises, and strange birds. Sidesplitting silliness abounds in this third riotously funny read-aloud by Leslie Helakoski, once again illustrated with Henry Cole's boisterous ...

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Overview

Why did the chickens cross the road? To get to town, of course! When those four lily-livered chickens are accidentally dumped off the farmer's truck, they have no choice but to follow the feed trail through a day of crazy hijinks. What ensues is a raucous adventure through town, including foreign food, weird noises, and strange birds. Sidesplitting silliness abounds in this third riotously funny read-aloud by Leslie Helakoski, once again illustrated with Henry Cole's boisterous art.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
The silly, rhyming words...make this great for reading aloud, and Cole's bright ink-and-watercolor cartoon pictures extend the chaotic fun.
Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Having braved the dangers of a wolf and their own farmyard in previous "Big Chicken" stories, the fearful four find themselves dropped by accident in Town. As they flop, flutter, squawk, jerk, and dance their way across the wide horizontal pages, these big, bug-eyed birds face the perils of the unfamiliar city. Dressed in brilliant colors (one even wears lime-green boots), they encounter terrifying traffic, a sidewalk cafe, a marching band, and hostile city pigeons, all the while following a trail of feed they hope will lead them home. Helakoski's clever text mimics the chickens' panic (in response to the band, for example) with words like "Twitching toes twiddled. Flying fingers fiddled. / Gizzards rocked. Eyebrows cocked. / Feet jammed. Chords slammed." Rhyme, rhythm, and repetition keep the frightened fowl moving along, while Cole's bold colors and daring black lines evoke feathers, fright, and flight. Exaggeration is the keynote, from the big solid shapes to the dizzy slapstick humor and the marvelous overreacting of the displaced hens. What a relief when they find themselves back in their farmer's pickup truck, safely on the road to the farm! This witty poultry commedia dell'arte will be great fun for listeners, browsers, and readers both young and adult. As the pooped but plucky chickens declare, "Maybe we can come back again soon." Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
Publishers Weekly
Pecking at a bag of feed in the back of the farmer's truck, the four chickens take an unintended ride to town in this third outing. The chickens become increasingly discombobulated by the sights, sounds, and pace of city life (“Bustling waiters tripped. Sidewalk tables flipped. Chickens stewed. Napkins shooed”). Kids should delight in their wildly expressive antics and chicken's-eye view of the world. Ages 3–5. (Jan.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Kids who have read Big Chickens (2005) and Big Chickens Fly the Coop (2008, both Dutton) will be familiar with the characteristics that make these birds immediately endearing: alternately impulsive and cautious, panicky and pleased, they're a lot like children testing their world. In this installment, the chickens find a bag of feed in the farmer's truck and are intent on pecking it open when the truck takes off. "What if we never get home again?" "What if we fall out of the truck?" "What if we can't get this bag open?" The foolish, fearsome, funny foursome lands in town, and this kind of worry-chorus is echoed in every new situation—when they cross the road; look for food in a cafe; hear their first jazz band; and run into a park full of pigeons. When the chickens stumble into a happy ending, young readers as well as these birds will feel that the world isn't such a big, bad place after all. This is a book that must be read aloud, and adults might want to do a little practicing beforehand. Helakoski's language is deliciously dense and tricky: "The chickens blabbered, gabbered, and gibber-jabbered. Shouting voices wobbled. Flighty locals bobbled. Running feet flumped. Startled bellies bumped." Children will love Cole's wacky illustrations. Chickens never had such huge nervous eyes, such flappy wings, or such cute outfits. The visual perspectives manage to make the birds look simultaneously large and small: a neat trick. Big Chickens Go to Town is more than a really funny book. Every page reminds readers, "That was scary, but we're okay."—Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525421627
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/21/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 675,330
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Lexile: 410L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Leslie Helakoski lives in Lawton, Michigan.

Henry Cole lives in Wilton Manors, Florida.

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