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Gemma and the Baby Chick

Gemma and the Baby Chick

by Antonia Barber, Karin Littlewood (Illustrator)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This heartening picture book unsentimentally highlights the wonder of new life on a farm. Gemma helps her mother tend to a broody hen and later, amid the scurrying of newborn chicks, realizes that not all the eggs have hatched. Warm water revives the chick inside one of them, and though the newcomer must be quickly restored to the hen lest it be rejected as foreign, Gemma has the satisfaction of having witnessed and aided its arrival. Barber's direct yet warm text demonstrates a keen awareness of a child's perspective--Gemma wonders whether the chirping coming from the eggs is ``like talking in bed after the light was out,'' and worries about slow hatchers because ``she was often late herself''--and Littlewood's soft, soothing watercolors are in close accord. Placed around and about the text, their spare rusticity affectingly depicts the story's high points. The book's portrayal of an apparently single mother--one clearly in tune with her daughter, whose curiosity and concerns she treats with kindness and respect--is an unheralded but not incidental plus. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
Julie Corsaro
Lovely watercolors set against crisp white backgrounds illustrate an appealing barnyard tale about a young girl, a broody hen, and a newborn chick. Alarmed when she is pecked while gathering eggs, Gemma is told by her mother that the hen "may be hatching some chicks," and together they move the hen to a special coop. When only seven chicks hatch at the end of the incubation period, Gemma takes the remaining three eggs into the house, where she and her mother are able to save one by placing it in a bowl of warm water. Although Gemma wants to keep the chick after it is born, her mother convinces her that the hen will be a better caretaker. This low-key story has the appeals of a strong mother-daughter relationship (there's no mention of a father), an involving counting element, the details of farm life, and a child's sense of adventure. Given the popularity of chick-hatching units in the primary grades, this will be in demand when teamed with a good informational book on the subject, such as Cole's "A Chick Hatches" (1976).

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
10.52(w) x 8.54(h) x 0.41(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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