Chicken Butt!

( 1 )


You know what?
Chicken butt!
The classic schoolyard joke has been recast as an irreverent picture book, with call-and-response parts for parent and child. The word repetition in Erica S. Perl?s text, and wonderfully comic illustrations by beloved artist Henry Cole, make this a particularly inviting book for new readers, as does the opportunity to ?trick? a ...
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You know what?
Chicken butt!
The classic schoolyard joke has been recast as an irreverent picture book, with call-and-response parts for parent and child. The word repetition in Erica S. Perl’s text, and wonderfully comic illustrations by beloved artist Henry Cole, make this a particularly inviting book for new readers, as does the opportunity to “trick” a parent or other adult into participating in a very silly joke. The humor builds to a surprising and satisfying conclusion. Warning: Kids will want to read this one over and over and over again!

“An unhinged piece of slap-happy rhyming…rocket-propelled artwork…the romp is a powerful piece of cacophony, more frenetic by the moment.”—Kirkus Reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Cynthia Levinson
The unnamed boy who rules this silly, low-word-count, partially rhyming picture book and who runs roughshod over his distracted father spies a chicken at the magazine stand where his father buys a newspaper. So immersed is the child in everything chicken that all the titles he sees, such as "Friends of Hens," relate comically to fowls. The chicken follows them home, and, bored by his father's reading his paper, the boy asks the age-old, pestering question, "You know what?" The nonsensical answer is the title of the book. Having gotten his father's attention, the boy follows this with a series of similar questions, each one of which he answers in rhyme. The reader's favorite might be "chicken underwear" in response to "You know where?" Father finally loses his patience and makes the boy promise to stop. But he can't himself from reciting one more round and then a cacophony of "Chicken Butt," which readers will probably find hilarious. When the boy finally agrees to stop, he asks his father the same question as the first one. Though exasperated and suspicious, the father nevertheless plays along. The boy's answer is not the expected Chicken Butt, though young readers will be delighted to see both the answer and a monkey being added to the household. The dialogue and the level of humor are just right for this audience. Reviewer: Cynthia Levinson
Publishers Weekly

Dad is engrossed in the paper, which of course makes him a ripe target for a silliness offensive by his son. "You know what?" says the boy, with a gleam in his eyes worthy of Bart Simpson. "What?" says unsuspecting parent, as a wide-eyed chicken peers around the corner, conspicuously out of place in their living room. "CHICKEN BUTT!" shouts the son, the words plastered on the airborne fowl's expansive backside. An increasingly hysteric call and response ensues, in which Chicken gives a hyper performance, Dad moves from bemused to exasperated and Perl (Ninety-Three in My Family) manages to rhyme "You know how?" with "chicken eyebrow" and "You know who?" with "chicken tattoo." Cole (the Katy Duck series), as wryly effervescent as ever, doesn't try to make this story anything more than it is: one of those treasured (by kids at least) moments of parent-child interaction that has no redeeming social value. When he covers a spread with "CHICKEN BUTT!" scrawled a dozen times on top of 18 emotive chickens, it's clear that mania is the message. Ages 3-6. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal

K-Gr 2

On the prefatory pages, a boy meets a chicken while at a newsstand with his father, and it follows him home. Once they are all settled on the couch, the chicken prompts the infamous rhyming conversation between father and son. "'You know what?' 'What?' 'Chicken butt.' 'You know why?' 'Why?' 'Chicken thigh!'" And so it goes. The plot is simple-the conversation escalates until the exasperated father says, "Enough! No more!" But the child continues, giving the story a new twist. Cole's illustrations and the page design work to make this book really enjoyable. The dialogue is written in different fonts-the father's in black in an authoritative typewriter font and the son's in bold red. The father, reading his newspaper, wants nothing more than some peace, while the boy cavorts with the pop-eyed chicken. The illustrations are manic and raucous, and the humor is evident throughout. This book would be fun to read aloud with children in two voices or act out at storytimes and in classrooms. Kids will definitely love it.-Susan E. Murray, Glendale Public Library, AZ

Kirkus Reviews
On one hand, this is an utter goofball of a book, an unhinged piece of slap-happy rhyming. On the other, it is a challenge to engage. It depends on the reader's mood. If that mood is like the father here-preoccupied, disconnected, maybe a bit grumpy-it could probably use this type of elevation. "You know what?" asks a boy. "What?" says his dad, slouching behind the newspaper. "CHICKEN BUTT!" hollers the boy, which gets his dad's attention. "You know why?" "Why?" "CHICKEN THIGH!" Off the book goes, very merrily energetic, served on a plate of Cole's rocket-propelled artwork (which features gleeful close-ups of the chicken anatomy in question). Read as a duet, the romp is a powerful piece of cacophony, more frenetic by the moment, which the book's targeted age group will allow for only at the upper end-so some rapid voice-flipping will be necessary. Then again, if an adult reader's mood is already fine, this uber-farce may send that adult, like this book's dad, round the bend, where a drink should be waiting. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810983250
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 136,439
  • Age range: 3 years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Erica S. Perl is a full-time writer and part-time chicken. She is the author of Ninety-three in My Family (Reuben Award, Book Sense Pick, Slate’s Best Books), which School Library Journal called a “comic masterpiece,” and Chicken Bedtime Is Really Early, which received a starred review from Booklist. She lives with her family in Washington, D.C. Visit her at Henry Cole grew up on a farm in Virginia with a coop full of mischievous chickens. He now lives in Florida with two peacocks. You can find him online at

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2013

    By 2yo and 4 yo boys love this book. It's silly and lots of fun.

    By 2yo and 4 yo boys love this book. It's silly and lots of fun. They ask for it when the wake up and before they go to sleep. And, they've learned how to spell "butt" from the book. Lol.

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