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My Life as a Chicken
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My Life as a Chicken

4.5 4
by Ellen A. Kelley, Michael Slack (Illustrator)

When Pauline Poulet learns she'll be the next special of the day at Cock-a-Doodle-Doo Café, she flies the coop faster than you can say "Chicken pie, delicious"! Thus begins her journey of peril and catastrophe, courage and chance: She is chased. She is dunked. She is tossed tail over beak. But can Pauline escape the dinner plate?

Kids everywhere will


When Pauline Poulet learns she'll be the next special of the day at Cock-a-Doodle-Doo Café, she flies the coop faster than you can say "Chicken pie, delicious"! Thus begins her journey of peril and catastrophe, courage and chance: She is chased. She is dunked. She is tossed tail over beak. But can Pauline escape the dinner plate?

Kids everywhere will love clucking along with this chicken's battle cry: "Pauline, prevail!"

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz
Pauline Poulet recites the amazing events of her chicken life in neatly crafted rhymes. When she notes the farmer reading a recipe for Chicken Pie, she decides to escape from the barn where she has been laying her eggs. Frightened by the creatures she encounters as she runs through the woods, she utters her reassuring cry, "Pauline prevail!" as she is then swept away to sea and captured by cat pirates. She flees on a raft, is tossed into the sea, then caught up in a balloon that is pecked open by a hawk. "Pauline prevail!" is repeated as she rides a kite to the ground where, exhausted, she falls asleep. But then at last, Pauline finds a happy home, a paradise with friends and family, in a petting zoo. This amusing tale begins before the title page with Pauline's hatching, and doesn't stop as the double-page spreads describe the antics of our fowl heroine. Slack's digital manipulation of mixed media creates a "slick chick" who survives her misadventures with fortitude. All the characters come from the artist's inventive private cartoon world and behave accordingly. Pieces of text of different sizes and shapes add to the bouncy page layouts that carry the humor throughout.
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3
Pauline Poulet reveals all in this tale of adventure. After hearing the farmer plotting to put her in a chicken pie, the plucky hen escapes her dreary life of doing nothing but laying eggs and winds up in a scary wood. She outfoxes the fox chasing her, and her new motto is born: "Pauline, Prevail!" But things get worse when she falls into the river and is picked up by pirate cats; she barely escapes the bloodthirsty ship's cook and, after a slight problem with a hot-air balloon and a kite, she lands safely in a petting zoo, where she takes up residence happily ever after. Slack's digital mixed-media illustrations are wacky and cartoonish, and the text ripples with big, impressive words befitting the exaggerated nature of Pauline's adventures: "I navigate high altitudes,/an aeronaut with fortitude./Above me burns a blaze of stars,/below the view blurs fast and far." Language-arts teachers will have a field day with this one, and the tone and zany sensibilities of the story and pictures are a perfect match for the funny bones of an early elementary audience.
—Kathleen Kelly MacMillanCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Chickens roost thickly on library and bookstore shelves these days, but Pauline Poulet stands out-both for plucky courage and for her way with a rhyme. BAWWWK! Seeing the farmer drooling over a volume of chicken recipes, Pauline declares, "Hens, Away! / Out the gate, / I must escape / the dinner plate!" But the world's a hostile place for a pullet on the lam. Can "Pauline Prevail?" In Slack's dark-toned, Keith Graves-style illustrations, pop-eyed Pauline flees one glaring predator after another-fetching up at last-after escaping a fox, feline pirates, a typhoon and other dangers-at an idyllic petting zoo: "I think I'll stay. / Now, wouldn't you?" Children will agree that she deserves a better fate than "special of the day / at Cock-a-Doodle-Do Cafe!" (Picture book. 6-8)

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
10.00(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

ELLEN A. KELLEY is an award-winning poet, author, and former schoolteacher. She lives in Santa Barbara, California.

MICHAEL SLACK is an illustrator, character designer, and occasional animator. He lives in Oakland, California.

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My Life as a Chicken 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
book4children More than 1 year ago
Humor oozes from every page of this delightful picture book! It was funny, witty, and engaging. Wildly entertaining, My Life as a Chicken will have children and adults laughing at the long string of misfortunes that befall Pauline as she tries to escape one hungry creature after another. The writing is well done and there are just enough words to every page that the story moves forward nicely. I am giving this book four stars. The only reason it is not getting five stars is because there are a few instances where the words are mixed around so much that they are difficult for children to understand, and a couple of the pictures are too dark to see what is happening very easily. The Illustrations: The artwork is unique and stylized. It fits right in with the style of the writing and compliments it very well. The only complaint I had was the one I mentioned in the paragraph above. Other than that, this was a very fun read out loud book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book with rhymes and fun story - my 4 year old daughter loves this book! Great book to read - not boring !
Guest More than 1 year ago
'But round my roost I hear suspicious Words like Chicken Pie, Delicious . . . ' Pauline Poulet begins her autobiography as a typical chick, resigned to peep and peck and do what chickens do best: lay eggs. But one day, she spies The Farmer drooling over ¿101 Chicken Recipes¿ and knows he is contemplating murder most fowl. Now she must choose: be Plucky or Plucked. So with a brawk and a squawk, it¿s hens, away! Pauline flies the coop as fast as her tasty drumsticks will carry her. Life isn¿t easy, however, on the other side of the picket fence. In from-frying-pan-into-the-fire fashion, she faces a carton of bad eggs: snarling foxes, hungry hawks, even peg-legged pirates, all with omelets on their minds. But Pauline prevails, landing `wilted, wounded, weak of wing¿ in the arms of some very special rescuers. Award-winning poet Ellen Kelley has hatched a hilarious, heart-ful tale with rollicking rhythms, active alliterations, and a rhyming text that snaps and cackles and begs to be read aloud. Michael Slack¿s wacky illustrations (take a gander at Pauline¿s eye-lashed, egg-like eyes!) match the energy and excitement and kid-friendly humor that will have all the chickadees in your roost chuckling and clucking for more.