Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken

( 4 )

Overview

She longed for adventure.

So she left her home and ventured out into the wide world.

The pleasures and perils she met proved plentiful: marauding pirates on the ...

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Overview

She longed for adventure.

So she left her home and ventured out into the wide world.

The pleasures and perils she met proved plentiful: marauding pirates on the majestic seas, a ferocious lion under the bright lights of the big top, a mysterious stranger in an exotic and bustling bazaar.

Yet in the face of such daunting danger, our heroine . . .

She was brave.

She was fearless.

She was feathered.

She was a chicken.

A not-so-chicken chicken.

Her name?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Newbery Medalist DiCamillo (The Tale of Despereaux) joins forces with the formidably talented Bliss (Diary of a Worm) for a series of ripping yarns about a chicken who just can't stay down on the farm. By the time the book reaches its fourth and final chapter (and that word is used more to evoke the book's swashbuckling scale than to indicate a preponderance of text), the indomitable Louise has seen it all and done it all, from escaping pirates on storm-tossed high seas to joining the circus-and she's been envisioned as a tasty dish by just about everyone. Not surprisingly, while Louise relishes her wanderlust, she also experiences Weltschmerz -here's the hen contemplating the circus: "Safe in a clown's wig, hidden beneath his hat, Louise thought of the henhouse and what a quiet, spectacularly lion-free place it was." DiCamillo's brisk, comic narrative crackles with read-aloud savoriness, and her respect for Louise makes the book all the funnier. And where lesser artists might have packed lots of visual nudge-nudges, Bliss creates a thrilling sense of place and puts his wide-eyed heroine front and center. An enlarged format does justice to the details in the art-and to the grand sweep of the storytelling. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
It is not that surprising that fans of Kate DiCamillo's very different Newbery winning Tale of Despereaux and Newbery honor Because of Winn-Dixie books will find that her entry into the picture book market is sui generis in many ways — it is written like chapter book but presents as a 10x11 picture book; it offers the tale of a heroic chicken in a most tongue-in-cheek fashion, as Louise faces off with pirates, lions, and mysterious strangers; and in the end, Louise decides, as so many juvenile classics do, that the very best thing to do is to be who you are, The charming but very ironic tone and the complexity of the text as a kind of "chapter" book" make it likely that most preschoolers will find it hard to know what to make of this story, despite the publisher's age target recommendation; however, children about to leave primary school and many adults are likely to love the slightly arch approach, and those who already love DiCamillo's work may well delight in this book. Bliss's illustrations are a perfect compliment to the delightful but sophisticated story of Louise. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2

A picture book in four chapters in which a thrill-seeking chicken repeatedly leaves the warm security of her henhouse seeking excitement. She is captured by hungry pirates, survives a sinking ship, joins the circus, narrowly escapes a lion, is caged with other chickens, picks the lock with her beak, and liberates her fellow captives. Back home in her barnyard, Louise enthralls her sister chickens with the story of her grand exploits, until all fall asleep tucked safely in their henhouse, having felt the vicarious frisson of adventure. In the nicely patterned telling, DiCamillo ends each of Louise's escapades with an old hen asking her where she has been. "Oh, here and there," is Louise's casual answer. Each new chapter begins with the bold brooder still eager to embark anew. Bliss's illustrations depict the settings of Louise's capers in vague antique worlds with various backdrops and in various eras. On every spread, Louise's bright white feathers and brilliant red cockscomb will stand out and draw the eyes of young readers. Smart choices in book design allow for an oversize book that suits its larger-than-life heroine, and vertical spreads that capture Louise's circus high-wire walk to maximum visual effect. This is a jolly metaphor for the stages of childhood in which young children long for short-lived independence and exploration always within the reassuring bounds of a secure home and family.-Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Old Greenwich, CT

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060755553
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/23/2008
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 56
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Kate DiCamillo

Kate DiCamillo is the acclaimed author of many books for young readers, including The Tale of Despereaux, winner of the Newbery Medal; Because of Winn-Dixie, a Newbery Honor Book; and The Tiger Rising, a National Book Award finalist. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Harry Bliss is the New York Times bestselling artist of Diary of a Worm, Diary of a Spider, and Diary of a Fly, by Doreen Cronin; A Fine, Fine School by Sharon Creech; and Which Would You Rather Be? by William Steig. He is also an award-winning, internationally syndicated cartoonist and a cover artist for the New Yorker magazine. He lives in Vermont with his son.

Biography

Kate DiCamillo was born in Philadelphia, moved to Florida's warmer climate when she was five years old, and landed in Minneapolis in her 20s.

While working at a children's bookstore, DiCamillo wrote her first novel, Because of Winn-Dixie (2000). It was inspired by one of the worst winters in Minnesota, when she became homesick for Florida after overhearing a little girl with a southern accent. One thing led to another, and soon DiCamillo had created the voice of Opal Buloni, a resilient ten-year-old girl who has just moved to a small town in Florida with her father. Opal's mother abandoned the family when she was three years old, and her father has a hard time explaining why.

Thoug her father is busy and she has no friends, Opal's life takes a turn for the better when she adopts a fun-loving stray dog, Winn-Dixie (named after the supermarket where she found him, out in the parking lot). With Winn-Dixie as her guide, Opal makes friends with the eccentric people of her new town and even convinces her father to talk about her mother. Through Opal, readers are given a gift: a funny and heartrending story of how one girl's spirit can change her life and others'. Critics loved the book as much as readers, and in 2001, Because of Winn-Dixie was named a Newbery Honor Book.

DiCamillo's second novel, The Tiger Rising (2001), also deals with the importance of friendships, families, and making changes. Twelve-year-old Rob Horton and his father are dealing with grief, anger, and isolation after moving to Lister, Florida, six months after Rob's mother succumbs to cancer. Rob's father has a job at a motel (where they both also live), but it barely pays the bills. Struggling through the loss of his mother, Rob stifles his many confusing emotions as he battles bullies at his new school, worries about a rash on his legs, and copes with living in poverty.

In many ways, The Tiger Rising is a darker, more challenging story than Because of Winn-Dixie, but there is a similar light of deliverance in this beautiful novel: the healing power of friendship. Two meetings change Rob's life. First, he encounters a caged lion in the woods. Shortly thereafter he meets Sistine, who has recently moved to Lister after her parents' divorce. Sistine and Rob are polar opposites -- she stands up to the school bullies and lets out every bit of her anger at her parents' divorce and her relocation. Through Sistine, Rob recognizes himself in the caged lion, and the story of how the two children free the beast is one of the most engaging reads in contemporary young adult fiction. With the lion free, Rob is free to grieve the loss of his mother and move on with his bittersweet new life in Lister. A National Book Award finalist, The Tiger Rising is hard to put down as it overflows with raw, engaging emotion.

In 2003, DiCamillo's third novel, The Tale of Despereaux, was released to the delight of readers and critics alike. This odd but enthralling fairy tale also touches on some of the topics from her first two novels -- parental abandonment and finding the courage to be yourself. The hero, Despereaux Tilling, is a mouse who has always been different from the rest of his family, and to make matters worse, he has broken a serious rule: interacting with humans, particularly Princess Pea, who captures his heart. When Despereaux finds himself in trouble with the mouse community, he is saddened to learn that his father will not defend him. Characters in the tale are Princess Pea, whose mother died after seeing a rat in her soup; King Pea, who, in his grief, declares that no soup may be served anywhere in the kingdom; Miggery Sow, a servant girl who dreams of being a princess after being sold into servitude by her father after her mother dies; and Roscuro, a villainous rat with a curious soup obsession.

The story of how the characters' paths cross makes The Tale of Despereaux an adventurous read, reminiscent of Grimm's fairy tales. In the spirit of love and forgiveness, Despereaux changes everyone's life, including his own. As the unnamed, witty narrator of the novel tells us, "Every action, reader, no matter how small, has a consequence." Kate DiCamillo's limitless imagination and her talent for emotional storytelling earned her one of the most prestigious honors a children's author can receive -- in 2004, she was awarded the Newbery Medal.

Good To Know

DiCamillo wrote The Tale of Despereaux for a friend's son, who had asked her to write a story for him about a hero with large ears.

In our interview, DiCamillo shared some other fun facts with us: :

"I can't cook and I'm always on the lookout for a free meal."

"I love dogs and I'm an aunt to a very bad dog named Henry."

"My first job was at McDonald's. I was overjoyed when I got a nickel raise."

"I'm a pretty boring person. I like reading. I like eating dinner out with friends. I like walking Henry. And I like to laugh."

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    1. Hometown:
      Minneapolis, Minnesota
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 25, 1964
    2. Place of Birth:
      Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, University of Florida at Gainesville, 1987

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken

    Excellent book for all ages. You can open a discussion for older kids or just enjoy reading this book to the little one's.

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  • Posted April 13, 2009

    Louise, the Chicken was GREAT!

    My grandchildren loved the book. The illustration we fantistic, the children seached each page for all the details. Then acted out the story as I read. It was one of the best books I have purchased for them in a long while. Thank you Barnes and Noble, Autors and Illustrators.

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    Posted February 23, 2009

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    Posted March 15, 2009

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