Chicken Sunday

Chicken Sunday

4.7 7
by Patricia Polacco, Edward Miller

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After being initiated into a neighbor's family by a solemn backyard ceremony, a young Russian American girl and her African American brothers determine to buy their gramma Eula a beautiful Easter hat. But their good intentions are misunderstood, until they discover just the right way to pay for the hat that Eula's had her eye on. A loving family story woven from the


After being initiated into a neighbor's family by a solemn backyard ceremony, a young Russian American girl and her African American brothers determine to buy their gramma Eula a beautiful Easter hat. But their good intentions are misunderstood, until they discover just the right way to pay for the hat that Eula's had her eye on. A loving family story woven from the author's childhood. Polacco has outdone herself with these joyful, energetic illustrations, her vibrant colors even richer and more intense than usual, while authentic details enhance the interest. A unique piece of Americana. --Kirkus Reviews, pointer review In this moving picture book, the hatred sometimes engendered by racial and religious differences is overpowered by the love of people who recognize their common humanity. --Booklist, starred, boxed review The text conveys a tremendous pride of heritage as it brims with rich images from her characters' African American and Russian Jewish cultures.A tribute to the strength of all family bonds. --Publishers Weekly, starred review

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Polacco--in the role of young narrator--introduces another cast of characters from her fondly remembered childhood. Brothers Stewart and Winston often invite the girl to join them and their Gramma Eula Mae--whose choir singing is ``like slow thunder and sweet rain''--at the Baptist church and to come for Miss Eula's bountiful chicken dinner. When the children hear Miss Eula longing for the fancy Easter bonnet in Mr. Kodinsky's hat shop, they plot to raise the money to buy it for her. Sharing her own family tradition, the narrator teaches the boys how to decorate Russian ``pysanky'' eggs, that both turn a profit and touch the heart of the crotchety immigrant hatmaker. Without being heavy-handed, Polacco's text conveys a tremendous pride of heritage as it brims with rich images from her characters' African American and Russian Jewish cultures. Her vibrant pencil-and-wash illustrations glow--actual family photographs have been worked into several spreads. Other telling details--Russian icons, flowing choir robes, Mr. Kodinsky's concentration camp tattoo--further embellish this moving story--a tribute to the strength of all family bonds. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
In this warm story the young Patricia and her two African-American friends want to buy a hat for the boys' grandmother to thank her for all of the wonderful Sunday dinners with her succulent chicken. When they go to the hat shop, other kids have just plastered the store with eggs. The ugly head of prejudice and racism against the Jewish storekeeper raised. Though blameless the kids must help out in the shop to repay the damage and insult. In the end the shopkeeper gives them the beautiful hat in the window that grandmother has eyed. Polacco demonstrates in the story and her art, that love and kindness can overcome evil and prejudice. This book, like Rechenka's Eggs, contains pictures of beautifully decorated Ukrainian-style Easter eggs, reflective of the many years Polacco spent studying art in the United States and Australia. (She has a Ph.D. in Art History with special emphasis on Greek painting and iconographic history.)
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Ms. Polacco spins another heartwarming story from her tapestry of real-life tales. Set in Oakland in a racially diverse neighborhood we watch eagerly as Stewart, Winston, and Trisha try to find a way to thank the boys' gramma, Miss Eula, for those scrumptious Sunday dinners. They decide to pool their money to buy her the Easter hat she admires. What can they do to earn enough for the hat? Clue: Pysanky eggs play an important part. Ms Polacco's paintings recreate the time period of the early '60's perfectly down to the photos on Mill Eula's dining room bureau. This is one of those special books that light up one's life.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-- Despite the differences in religion, sex, and race, Winston and Stewart Washington are young Patricia's best friends, and she considers their grandmother, Miss Eula, a surrogate since her own ``babushka'' died. On Sundays, she often attends Baptist services with her friends, and Miss Eula fixes a sumptuous fried chicken dinner with all the trimmings, after stopping to admire the hats in Mr. Kodinski's shop. The youngsters hope to buy her one, but when they approach the merchant looking for work, he mistakenly accuses them of pelting his shop with eggs. To prove their innocence, the children hand-dye eggs in the folk-art style that Patricia's grandmother had taught her and present them to the milliner. Moved by the rememberance of his homeland, the Russian Jewish emigre encourages the children to sell the ``Pysanky'' eggs in his shop and rewards their industry with a gift of the hat, which Miss Eula proudly wears on Easter Sunday. Polacco's tale resonates with the veracity of a personal recollection and is replete with vivid visual and visceral images. Her unique illustrative style smoothly blends detailed line drawing, impressionistic painting, primitive felt-marker coloring, and collage work with actual photographs, resulting in a feast for the eyes as filling as Miss Eula's Chicken Sunday spreads. The palette is equally varied, while the application of color is judiciously relieved by sporadic pencil sketches. An authentic tale of childhood friendship. --Dorothy Houlihan, formerly at White Plains Pub . Lib . , NY

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
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Product dimensions:
8.05(w) x 10.30(h) x 0.10(d)
650L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

"I was born in Lansing, Michigan in 1944. Soon after my birth I lived in Williamston, Michigan and then moved onto my grandparents farm in Union City, Michigan.

"I lived on the farm with my mom and Grandparents until 1949. That is when my Babushka (my grandmother) died and we prepared to move away from Michigan. I must say that living on that little farm with them was the most magical time of my life...and that my Babushka and other grandparents were some of the most inspirational people in my life.

"My parents were divorced when I was 3, and both my father and mother moved back into the homes of their parents. I spent the school year with my mother, and the summers with my dad. In both households I was the apple of my grandparents' eyes! I would say that these relationships with my grandparents have most definitely influenced my life and my work. You probably have noticed that in almost every book that I write there is a very young person who is interacting with an elderly person. Personally, I feel that this is the most valuable experience of my life....having the wonder of knowing both children and elderly people.

"The respect that I learned as a very young person certainly carried over into my life in later years. I have always like hearing stories from these folks. My genuine curiosity for the wonder of living a very long life prepared me to accept the declining years of my own parents.

"To get back to the farm in Union City...this place was so magical to me that I have never forgotten it! This was the place where I heard such wonderful stories told...this was the place that a real meteor fell into our font yard...that very meteorite is now our family headstone in the graveyard here in Union City.

"Did I tell you that I now live in Union City? This is after living in Oakland, California for almost 37 years. But, you see, every year I'd come back to Michigan to see my Dad and family.


"In 1949 we left the farm to move, first to Coral Gables, Florida. I lived there with my Mom and my brother, Richard, for almost 3 years. Then we moved to Oakland, California. I remained there for most of my young life on into my adulthood. We lived on Ocean View Drive in the Rockridge District. What I loved the most about this neighborhood is that all of my neighbors came in as many colors, ideas and religions as there are people on the planet. How lucky I was to know so many people that were so different and yet so much alike.

"It is on Ocean View that I met my best friend, Stewart Grinnell Washington. We are best friends to this day! He has a younger brother, Winston and three sisters; Jackie, Terry and Robin. When I was a student in elementary school I wasn't a very good student. I had a terrible time with reading and math. As a matter of fact, I did not learn how to read until I was almost 14 years old. Can you imagine what it was like to see all my friends do so well in school and I wasn't! I thought I was dumb. I didn't like school because there was this boy that always teased me and made me feel even dumber. When I was fourteen, it was learned that I have a learning disability. It is called dyslexia. I felt trapped in a body that wouldn't do what everybody else could do. That was when one of my hero's, my teacher, found what was wrong with me and got me the help I needed to succeed in school. Of course, now that I am an adult, I realize that being learning disabled does not mean DUMB AT ALL! As a matter of fact, I have learned that being learning disabled only means that I cannot learn the way most of you do. As a matter of fact, most learning disabled children are actually GENIUSES! Once I learned how to read and caught up with the rest of my fellow students, I did very well.

"I went on to University, majored in Fine Art, then went on to do a graduate degree and even ended up with a Ph.D. in Art History. For a time I restored ancient pieces of art for museums. I eventually became the mother of two children, Steven and Traci, and devoted much of my days to their education and upbringing.

"I did not start writing children's books until I was 41 years old. Mind you the "art" has always been there for me most of my life. Apparently one of the symptoms of my disability in academics is the ability of draw very, very well. So drawing, painting and sculpture has always been a part of my life even before I started illustrating my books. The books were quite a surprise, really. Mind you, I came from a family of incredible storytellers. My mother's people were from the Ukraine and father's people were from Ireland. My extended family,(Stewart's family) were from the bayous of Louisiana...also great story tellers. When you are raised on HEARING stories.....NOT SEEING THEM, you become very good at telling stories yourself. So at the age of 41 I started putting stories that I told down on paper and did drawings to help illustrate them...I guess the rest is history.

"I have enjoyed a wonderful career of writing books for children . Who could have guessed that little girl that was having such a tough time in school would end up an illustrator and author. Children and adults alike ask me where I get my ideas...I get them from the same place that you do....MY IMAGINATION... I would guess the reason my imagination is so fertile is because I came from storytelling and, WE DID NOT OWN A T.V.!!!!!!!!! You see, when one is a writer, actor, dancer, musician; a creator of any kind, he or she does these things because they listen to that "voice" inside of them. All of us have that "voice". It is where all inspired thoughts come from....but when you have electronic screens in front, of you, speaking that voice for you... it DROWNS OUT THE VOICE! When I talk to children and aspiring writers, I always ask them to listen to the voice, turn off the T.V. and


"Now that I have moved back to Union City I am intending to open my house and community and invite people to come there to take part in writing seminars, story telling festivals, literature conferences and various events that celebrate children's literature."

Born Patricia Ann Barber in Lansing, Michigan, to parents of Russian and Ukrainian descent on one side and Irish on the other, Patricia Polacco grew up in both California and Michigan. Her school year was spent in Oakland, California, and summers in her beloved Michigan. She describes her family members as marvelous storytellers. "My fondest memories are of sitting around a stove or open fire, eating apples and popping corn while listening to the old ones tell glorious stories about their homeland and the past. We are tenacious traditionalists and sentimentalists.... With each retelling our stories gain a little more Umph!"

Studying in the United States and Australia, Patricia Polacco has earned an M.F.A. and a Ph. D. in art history, specializing in Russian and Greek painting, and iconographic history. She is a museum consultant on the restoration of icons. As a participant in many citizen exchange programs for writers and illustrators, Patricia Polacco has traveled extensively in Russia as well as other former Soviet republics. She continues to support programs that encourage Russo-American friendships and understanding. She is also deeply involved in inner-city projects here in the U.S. that promote the peaceful resolution of conflict and encourage art and literacy programs.

The mother of a grown son and a daughter, Patricia Polacco currently resides in Michigan, where she has a glorious old farm that was built during the time of Lincoln.

copyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

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Chicken Sunday (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eothelibrarian More than 1 year ago
Chicken Sunday is my favorite Patricia Polacco story and it never fails to bring tears to my eyes, as most of her stories are emotional and precious. Polacco writes about stories she has experienced or are in her family history; the charming illustrations are hers as well. Chicken Sunday is a story of three cultures that you don't notice are three DIFFERENT cultures. The characters interact and blend as smoothly as Grandma's Chicken Sunday suppers. Oh the love you will feel as you read this story. The children for their Grandma, the Grandma for her "baby dears". I've read it many times to hundreds of baby dears. Maybe someday they will read it to their own baby dears! I met Polacco once and told her Chicken Sunday was my favorite of all her books. She smiled at me and replied, "How kind of you." I thought what a lovely response. You will find her stories unforgettable and ageless.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Patricia Polocco's wonderful rendering of children's love for a neighbor moves me every Easter. I have read this as a room-mother to my daughter's classes on an annual basis and continue to share it with children in my church now that the girls are grown. I love the ethnic diversity. I love the story. I love the hats. I love the storekeeper. And most of all I love the children's generosity. This is a feel-good book that communicates kindness on many levels and is well worth sharing with the children in your life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MSSTJOHN More than 1 year ago
This is a sweet story of a grandmother who loves her children and little Patricia so much that she allows them the opportunity to show members of their community what happens when you put your heads together to solve a big problem. They enjoy the love that is given to them by Miss Eula so much that they want to buy her a hat for Easter Sunday but they don't have the money. Because she treates them to a delicious meal of fried chicken after they've churched it up at Sunday service, they want to honor her with a special gift. Mr. Kodinski's Hat Shop is where they want to buy it from, but something happens to make him think they vandalized his shop. This is a sweet realistic fiction story that is great to teach mood, theme and character analysis. The illustrations are warm and bright. Since I teach 4th grade, it is the perfect touch tone text to explain cultural diversity and extended family love. Andrea St. John 4th grade teacher Cannon Road ES Silver Spring, Maryland
Guest More than 1 year ago
Chicken Sunday By: Patricia Polocco This book was okay, but not great. It just wasn¿t a type of book you would love so much you would be happy to read it each day, but it was still a good book. It had great word choice, and I was shocked with the surprise near the end of the book. I advise you to read this book! The story line is about Patricia Polacco as a little girl. She practically lives with her next-door neighbors. They are 2 boys who live with their Aunt Eula, but the two boys and Patricia call her Grandma. Each day after church, they pass a hat shop, and each day grandma says ¿Oh lord, how I would love to have that hat there in the window!¿ The trio wants to get her that hat. ¿Maybe we could get a job at Mr. Kodinski¿s shop?¿ Patricia suggests.¿ The children decide work for Mr. Kodinski. One day the children go to the shop and see boys running away from the door, which is covered in eggs. Mr. Kodinski is coming out of the shop!!! Will he think it was the kids? Will he tell Aunt Eula? Find out when you read Chicken Sunday!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is truely golden. Patricia shows a part of her childhood that makes her so speacial. After seeing the hat Miss Eula wants Patricia and her two suposedly brothers go out and try to raise money to buy the hat for easter. WHen they stumble upon a job they are accsed of something they did not do. But after they give a present to the shop owner thatmis took them and they end up buying the hat. The shop keeper plays a very important role and survived during the holicost!