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Busy-Busy Little Chick

Overview

Ideal for Easter and springtime, an exuberantly illustrated picture book by a New York Times bestselling artist!

Little Chick’s mother is all cluck and no action. Mama knows her old nest isn’t the cozy home she and her brood need. But whenever she vows to start building a new house, she’s distracted—by sweety-meaty worms, crunchy-munchy crickets, or picky-pecky corn. Luckily, her Little Chick is an industrious sort. While the rest of his ...

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Overview

Ideal for Easter and springtime, an exuberantly illustrated picture book by a New York Times bestselling artist!

Little Chick’s mother is all cluck and no action. Mama knows her old nest isn’t the cozy home she and her brood need. But whenever she vows to start building a new house, she’s distracted—by sweety-meaty worms, crunchy-munchy crickets, or picky-pecky corn. Luckily, her Little Chick is an industrious sort. While the rest of his family are stuffing themselves silly, he’s quietly working, bit by bit, day by day.

Janice N. Harrington’s retelling of a little-known Central African story is perfectly matched with Brian Pinkney’s jazzy depiction of a can-do little critter.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Pamela Paul
Pinkney's animated chickens, scurrying and fluttering in great swaths of marigold and orange, impart abundant joy.
Publishers Weekly
In a Central African tale that turns the story of the Little Red Hen upside down, an affectionate chicken mother fails to build her children a better house, and one of her chicks must do it instead. “Peo-peo,” the chicks cry. “We’re chilly-cold.” Mama Nsoso promises to build them a new house, an ilombe, but is waylaid by “crunchy-munchy, sweety-meaty, big fat worms” and a succession of other treats. Meanwhile, Little Chick gathers grass and twigs “tee-tee-tee” (the glossary explains that this term describes “action that goes on and on”), making a house that delights the chicks and makes Mama Nsoso proud. Pinkney (Sit-In) concentrates on the chunky chickens rather than the African landscape. Using brushes loaded with color, he paints them broadly, drawing Mama Nsoso and her chicks with fat, black ink lines and swashing them with intense reds, oranges, and yellows. Harrington’s (Roberto Walks Home) storytelling background and careful investigation of African sources can be seen in the multitude of sound words and Lonkundo vocabulary she includes. Watching Little Chick succeed where his parent has stumbled will thrill young readers. Ages 3–6. Illustrator’s agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
"Based on a Central African fable, 'The Hen’s House,' this story has strong roots in the oral tradition. 'Chilly-cold' chicks complain with little peo-peo-peos, and Mama Nsoso steps with a cwa-cwa-cwa and clucks pruck! pruck! Every night Mama tells her chicks they’ll build an ilombe, a new house, the next day. But while she gets distracted by tasty worms and crickets (Mama is the first little pig), Busy-Busy Chick works. Pinkney’s animated chickens, scurrying and fluttering in great swaths of marigold and orange, impart abundant joy." —The New York Times Book Review

"Harrington’s (Roberto Walks Home) storytelling background and careful investigation of African sources can be seen in the multitude of sound words and Lonkundo vocabulary she includes. Watching Little Chick succeed where his parent has stumbled will thrill young readers."—Publishers Weekly.

 

"Well-told and beautifully illustrated." — Kirkus Reviews

 

"A good addition to units on fables, farm animals, or African culture, and an enjoyable story in general." - School Library Journal

"Former children’s librarian Harrington knows how to tell a story, and she uses repetitive elements and refrains to keep children engaged and participating. Pinkney here moves away from his usual structured scratchboard illustrations to create free and energetic watercolors in bright yellow, orange, and red, capturing a feeling of motion with his loose black lines." — The Horn Book

"Pinkney provides impressionistic swirls of color that bleed out of the figures of Mama Nsoso and her baby chicks, washing into backgrounds and giving a toasty warmth, as well as a mystical timelessness, to the story that will invite kids to browse through it independently." — Booklist

 "Utterly charming." - BCCB 

Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
This is a charming retelling of a Central African story with lots of African words and sounds sprinkled throughout the narrative. Mr. Pinkney's simple but enchanting illustrations set off the story beautifully. Mama Nsoso loves her chicks very much and knows she should make a better nest ("ilombe") for them so they will not have cold, wet bottoms at night. She promises each night that she will make a better nest, but the following day she gets distracted. Day by day, busy-busy Little Chick gathers the grass and twigs and leaves and mud ("tee-tee-tee") until he has enough to make a new nest. It will be one with smooth mud sides to keep the wind out. One with a grass roof to keep the rain out. One with a nest made of clean, fresh leaves to keep the chicks warm and safe. Mama Nsoso "pruck, pruck, pruck"s with pride for Little Chick, but he does not care. He is too busy chasing cricky-cracky crickets. The special words, from the Nkundo people who speak Lonkundo, are very descriptive of the actions mentioned. Children and their parents will enjoy reading this book again and again. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—This story is adapted from a fable told by the Nkundo people of Central Africa, and it evokes a storytelling style through vocabulary and rhythm. Mama Nsoso's chicks complain of the cold each night, and the hen promises to build a new ilombe, a sturdy house. Each morning, however, she gets distracted by tasty treats. Undeterred, Little Chick gathers twigs, leaves, grass, and mud and constructs the ilombe himself. Mama clucks with pride, and the chick finally gets a snack. Bright paintings are loose and full of movement. A curly font highlights the text when the chickens find food. The informal pictures work well with the intimate feel of the text. Children will applaud the success of Little Chick and his mother's pride in him. A good addition to units on fables, farm animals, or African culture, and an enjoyable story in general.—Heidi Estrin, Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
Kirkus Reviews
Based on a fable of the Nkundo people of Central Africa, this compelling tale brings home the message that if you want something done right--or at all--sometimes you have to do it yourself. Mama Nsoso's shivering chicks are in desperate need of a new home. Though Mama promises to build them a cozy one that will keep the wind, rain and cold at bay, each day she is distracted by something delicious to eat, and each night the disappointed chicks cry with cold. Except, that is, for the persistent, industrious Little Chick, who, exhausted from working alone and in secret on a new nest for the family, falls right asleep. When the nest is ready, Little Chick invites his brothers and sisters in for a good night's rest. The tale incorporates non-English words and sounds without any context or framing device, and readers must locate the author's note and glossary on the final page to discover that these words are from the language of the Nkundo people, who are the original tellers of this tale. To further complicate matters, while Pinkney's vibrant, energetically loose illustrations lovingly and skillfully render Mama and her chicks, they give almost no indication of setting. Potential confusion aside, this well-told and beautifully illustrated offering makes a distinctive addition to folklore collections. (author's note, glossary) (Picture book/folktale. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374347468
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 2/19/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,374,406
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.34 (w) x 10.12 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Janice N. Harrington received the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award for her first picture book, Going North, and a Parents’ Choice Award for The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County. She lives in Champaign, Illinois.

Brian Pinkney's awards include two Caldecott Honors, four Coretta Scott King Honors and a Coretta Scott King Award, and the Boston GlobeHorn Book Award. He is the illustrator of the New York Times bestseller Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down, written by his wife, Andrea Pinkney. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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