Crabby Cratchitt

Overview


Crabby Cratchitt has a farm . . . and a hen that won’t stop clucking! Crabby schemes and plots and tries everything she can to put an end to the eternal clucking, but nothing works. The noisy hen won’t leave old Crabby alone. But when the hen falls silent at last, could it be that the farm is a little too quiet for Crabby, after all? A familiar rhythm, clever rhymes, and hilariously expressive illustrations deliver a surprise ending to this ...
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Overview


Crabby Cratchitt has a farm . . . and a hen that won’t stop clucking! Crabby schemes and plots and tries everything she can to put an end to the eternal clucking, but nothing works. The noisy hen won’t leave old Crabby alone. But when the hen falls silent at last, could it be that the farm is a little too quiet for Crabby, after all? A familiar rhythm, clever rhymes, and hilariously expressive illustrations deliver a surprise ending to this rollicking, laugh-out-loud story about a unique friendship.

Crabby Cratchitt has a hen whose constant clucking is so annoying, Crabby devises a plan to cook her in a frying pan.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A lightweight romp that children will flock to." School Library Journal
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Erratic improvisations on "Old Macdonald Had a Farm" frustrate attempts to sing along with this so-so story of a female farmer and her chicken. Crabby Cratchitt has a hen ("E-I-E-I-oh"). Every time the gray-haired farmer tries to nap, she wakes to "a cluck cluck here/ and a cluck cluck there./ Too much clucking everywhere." Crabby Cratchitt grabs a hatchet and chases the garrulous bird all over the farm, but she has a change of heart when a fox nearly finishes the job. Glass's (Monster Manners) caricatures of the barnyard antics recall Paul Brett Johnson's folktale illustrations. Bony, pot-bellied Crabby wears an incongruous outfit of brown skirt and yellow rain boots, and the scenery includes a ramshackle pickup truck, chicken wire and a profusion of straw. Maguire (Five Alien Elves) explains that the maddening "here a cluck,/ there a cluck,/ sounded like a record stuck." Yet his couplets skip like a stuck record, too, from "Crabby had a clever plan./ She'd cook that hen in a frying pan!" to "Crabby Cratchitt, at it still./ That hen was pretty hard to kill." These singsong stanzas require repetitive images of the scowling Crabby and her victorious hen, and this slapstick combination quickly gets stale. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature
Here is a delightful variation on the familiar nursery song, "Old McDonald had a Farm." This time, the farmer's name is Crabby Cratchitt. Crabby's hen not only goes 'cluck-cluck' here, there and everywhere—the noisy hen clucks night and day! Poor farmer Cratchitt can't catch the hen OR a few winks...it's no wonder she is crabby! This lively, picture book is the perfect read-aloud. It uses a familiar rhythm as a base for its clever, new rhymes and sly humor. The eye-popping, full color illustrations bounce across the pages and add modern, funny twists to the text's down-home charm. Young readers will love the surprise ending to this story of a unique friendship. 2000, Clarion Books, $15.00. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Dianne Ochiltree
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-"Crabby Cratchitt had a farm,/E-I-E-I-oh./And on that farm she had a hen,/E-I-E-I-oh," begins Maguire's silly twist on the familiar song. "Here a cluck,/there a cluck,/sounded like a record stuck." The noisy little hen foils every plot the elderly woman hatches to get rid of her, from a net trap to a hatchet, but when a fox grabs the annoying chicken, Crabby comes to the rescue. The rhyming text successfully moves the plot along, with only an occasional falter or awkward phrasing. The lengthy conclusion smacks of melodrama: "`Cluck?' she said again. `Please cluck?'/The hen held still./The hen looked ill." Glass's watercolor, pencil, and oil crayon illustrations create a lively, rumpled backdrop for the expressively comic characters. A lightweight romp that children will flock to.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Crabby Cratchitt's constantly clucking hen creates chaos in the barnyard. Fanciful illustrations in watercolor pencils and oil crayon clearly show Crabby's mounting frustration with a noisy hen whose cackling never ceases. "Here a cluck, there a cluck, sounded like a record stuck." As her temper frays, her plans for achieving peace and quiet become increasingly more complex always backfiring on Crabby and giving the chicken the freedom to torture her even further. But when a hungry fox threatens the noisy bird, Crabby comes to the rescue in a surprise ending that reveals her true nature. Awkward, rhyming text (continuing rhythm of Old MacDonald) mars an otherwise clever retelling of the traditional song. Despite this flaw, young children will be satisfied with the story's resolution and the pictures will have them cackling, too. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395604854
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 8/28/2000
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD360L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.25 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 0.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Gregory Maguire

Gregory Maguire is the popular author of many books for children, including the Hamlet Chronicles for Clarion, as well as several adult books, including WICKED (HarperCollins), upon which a Broadway musical was based, and its sequel, CONFESSIONS OF AN UGLY STEPSISTER (Regan Books). He lives in Concord, Massachusetts.

Andrew Glass has written several books for children and has illustrated many. He lives in New York City with his wife.

Biography

Raised in a family of writers (his father was a journalist and his stepmother a poet), Gregory Maguire grew up with a great love of books, especially fairy tales and fantasy fiction. He composed his own stories from an early age and released his first book for children, The Lightning Time, in 1978, just two years after graduating from the State University of New York at Albany.

Several other children's book followed, but major recognition eluded Maguire. Then, in 1995, he published his first adult novel. A bold, revisionist view of Frank L. Baum's classic Oz stories, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West places one of literature's most reviled characters at the center of a dark dystopian fantasy and raises provocative questions about the very nature of good and evil. Purists criticized Maguire for tampering with a beloved juvenile classic, but the book received generally good reviews (John Updike, writing in The New Yorker, proclaimed it "an amazing novel.") and the enthusiasm of readers catapulted it to the top of the bestseller charts. (Maguire's currency increased even further when the book was turned into the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Wicked in 2003.)

In the wake of his breakthrough novel, Maguire has made something of a specialty out of turning classic children's tales on their heads. He retold the legends of Cinderella and Snow White in Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister (1999) and Mirror, Mirror (2003); he raised the ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge in Lost (2001); and, in 2005, he returned to Oz for Son of a Witch, the long-awaited sequel to Wicked. He has reviewed fantasy fiction for the Sunday New York Times Book Review and has contributed his own articles, essays, and stories to publications like Ploughshares, The Boston Review, the Christian Science Monitor, and The Horn Book Magazine.

In addition, Maguire has never lost his interest in -- or enthusiasm for -- children's literature. He is the author of The Hamlet Chronicles, a bestselling seven-book series of high-camp mystery-adventures with silly count-down titles like Seven Spiders Spinning and Three Rotten Eggs. He has taught at the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College and is a founding member of Children's Literature New England (CLNE), a nonprofit organization that focuses attention on the significance of literature in the lives of children.

Good To Know

In our interview, Maguire shared some fun facts with us about his life:

"While I pride myself on trying to be creative in all areas of my life, I have occasionally gone overboard, like the time I decided to bring to a party a salad that I constructed, on a huge rattan platter, to look like a miniature scale model of the Gardens of Babylon. I built terraces with chunks of Monterey jack, had a forest of broccoli florets and a lagoon of Seven Seas salad dressing spooned into a half a honeydew melon. I made reed patches out of scallion tips and walkways out of sesame seeds lined with raisin borders. Driving to the party, I had to brake to avoid a taxi, and by the time the police flagged me down for poor driving skills I was nearly weeping. ‘But Officer, I have a quickly decomposing Hanging Gardens of Babylon to deliver....' Everything had slopped and fallen over and it looked like a tray of vegetable garbage."

"My first job was scooping ice cream at Friendly's in Albany, New York. I hated the work, most of my colleagues, and the uniform, and I more or less lost my taste for ice cream permanently."

"If I hadn't been a writer, I would have tried to be one of the following: An artist (watercolors), a singer/songwriter like Paul Simon (taller but not very much more), an architect (domestic), a teacher. Actually, in one way or another I have done all of the above, but learned pretty quickly that my skills needed more honing for me to charge for my services, and I'd always rather write fiction than hone skills."

"I steal a bit from one of my favorite writers to say, simply, that I enjoy, most of all, old friends and new places. I love to travel. Having small children at home now impedes my efforts a great deal, but I have managed in my time to get to Asia, Africa, most of Europe, and Central America. My wish list of places not yet visited includes India, Denmark, Brazil, and New Zealand, and my wish for friends not yet made includes, in a sense, readers who are about to discover my work, either now or even when I'm no longer among the living. In a sense, in anticipation, I value those friends in a special way."

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    1. Hometown:
      Boston, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 9, 1954
    2. Place of Birth:
      Albany, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., SUNY at Albany, 1976; M.A., Simmons College, 1978; Ph.D., Tufts University, 1990
    2. Website:

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