City Chicken

City Chicken

by Arthur Dorros, Henry Cole

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Henry is so confused. She thinks a cow looks like this ... She thinks a horse looks like this ... But when Henry, the city chicken, flies the coop, she finds out that country life is not all it's cracked up to be.

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Henry is so confused. She thinks a cow looks like this ... She thinks a horse looks like this ... But when Henry, the city chicken, flies the coop, she finds out that country life is not all it's cracked up to be.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
One-liners and sight gags are as thick as feathers in a henhouse in Dorros's (Ten Go Tango) and Cole's (The Sissy Duckling) pert poultry drama. Henry ("short for Henrietta") is the city chicken of the title; she lives in a cozy coop in her owner's backyard. Lucy the cat tells her so much about the wondrous animals who live in the country ("They are huge and brown, and let people jump on their backs," she says, describing a horse, while Henry visualizes a Godzilla-size chicken racing through the city streets with seven enthusiastic riders sprawled between her wings) that Henry decides to go and see them for herself. After she makes her way out to rural farmland ("Here's a truck that goes to the country," an ant tells her, gesturing toward a garbage truck. "And they serve great meals on board!"), an encounter with an industrial barn crammed with crated egg-laying hens convinces Henry that the city is where she belongs. " `Was the country all it was cracked up to be?' asked Lucy. `It was different,' said Henry. `But it was not the place for me.' " While disparate themes compete for readers' attention-mechanized agriculture, knowing where one belongs, finding out that not everything lives up to its billing-the dynamic spreads and storytelling relay the action with boisterous energy and humor. Ages 4-8. (Feb.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
As a city chicken, Henry knows nothing of life in the country. So when Lucy the cat describes cows, horses, and pigs, saying "You'd have to see it to believe it," Henry, also know as Henrietta, decides to do just that. The pictures in her mind, however, are far from real. After a series of encounters and some amusing misunderstandings, she finds her way to a huge "city of chickens" farm, and is caught on the egg conveyor belt. She manages to hide among the egg cartons for the long road back to the city. Happy to be home, she is intrigued next by Lucy's description of outer space to which a chicken is about to blast off, as she pictures a two-headed chicken. Perhaps that will be her next comic misadventure, filled with more fun and play on words. Cole's cartoon-y colored drawings enhance the fantasy by keeping the action focused on single events. Henry's comic imagination pictures a very big brown chicken with a saddle as a horse, for example. The spread showing the inside of the egg farm is almost frighteningly overwhelming. But the escape and the other adventures are light-hearted in both the verbal and visual narrative. 2003, HarperCollins Publishers,
— Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-Henrietta (Henry, for short) has lived in a chicken coop in the city all of her life. So when Lucy, the cat next door, tells her tantalizing tales of cows ("They eat grass, and milk comes out"), horses, and pigs, the bird decides that it's time to see these wonders for herself. After unsuccessfully attempting to fly to the country, she settles instead for rides on a bus and a garbage truck, and finds herself on a farm. During her wanderings, she completely misidentifies all the animals and then witnesses mass egg production. She is initially confounded and then dismayed by the little cages, automatic grain dispenser, and conveyor-belt egg transportation, and wisely realizes that the city's the place for her. Once she gets home, though, and Lucy regales her with stories of the first chicken astronaut, Henry starts thinking about her next adventure. Sprinkled with puns and references to chicken jokes, this likable tale pokes gentle fun at the baffled but "game" bird in language easily understood by the storytime crowd. Cole's cheerful and expansive watercolor cartoon illustrations pair well with the straightforward text and reflect the silly and slightly exaggerated characters and plot. What this story lacks in sparkle, it makes up for in approachability and good humor. This book will add an "eggs-tra layer" to storytimes featuring such adventuresome chickens as Pauline in Mary Jane Auch's Eggs Mark the Spot (Holiday, 1996) and the siblings in Laura Numeroff's Chicken Sisters (HarperCollins, 1997).-Carol Ann Wilson, Westfield Memorial Library, NJ Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A storm of double-entendres and figures of speech turned into literalisms, plus a fine little twist on commonly held notions of city vs. country, make Dorros�s story of a chicken that flew the coop a winner. Henry�short for Henrietta, it seems�is a city chicken. She has her own coop and the run of the backyard where she works the scratch and chats with Lucy, the family cat. Lucy regales Henry with stories of strange farm animals, reflected in illustrations showing Henry�s interpretation of them. Henry decides to investigate for herself. She tries to fly to the country, but opts to take the bus when her wings fail her. Henry asks a passing ant, "Where is the country these days?" The ant motions to a truck headed in the right direction, a garbage truck, which, the ant notes, serves great meals. Once in the country and on a farm, Henry gets the special treat of visiting a substantial chicken coop, which resembles a cross between a purgatorial apartment house and a forced-labor camp. Henry is on the next truck home and another pastoral idyll gets its balloon pricked. This is not Cole�s most inspired work, though he still manages to stand above the crowd. The illustrations, with their corny mannerisms, flag when held up next to the text. But Dorros shines, the wordplay at just the right pitch of sophistication, slyly winking at the readers as it invites them in on all the jokes. (Picture book. 4-8)

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.34(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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