The Problem With Chickens by Bruce McMillan, Gunnella |, NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
The Problem With Chickens

The Problem With Chickens

3.0 1
by Bruce McMillan, Gunnella
     
 

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The ladies of Iceland have a problem: the birds lay their eggs in nooks on the sides of steep cliffs, so the ladies have a very difficult time getting any of the eggs for baking. They go to town to buy chickens to lay eggs for them instead. For a while, everyone is happy: there are plenty of eggs to bake plenty of yummy things. But the ladies' problems are far

Overview

The ladies of Iceland have a problem: the birds lay their eggs in nooks on the sides of steep cliffs, so the ladies have a very difficult time getting any of the eggs for baking. They go to town to buy chickens to lay eggs for them instead. For a while, everyone is happy: there are plenty of eggs to bake plenty of yummy things. But the ladies' problems are far from solved, for the more time the chickens spend with the ladies, the more they begin to act like them too, until eventually they stop laying eggs all together. Now this is a problem indeed, but you can be sure, the clever ladies will find a solution. Full of fun and silliness, this lighthearted tale and vibrant illustrations are a delight.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The subject of McMillan's (Nights of the Pufflings) picture book-perhaps the first ever devoted to interactions between chickens and middle-aged women in an Icelandic village-might seem an uninteresting prospect on the face of it. But the juxtaposition of McMillan's minimal deadpan text (just one or two lines per page) and Icelandic artist Gunnella's comically literal paintings makes for some unlikely hilarity. The author relates the trials of a group of women as they try to secure a reliable supply of eggs. Native birds lay their eggs on inaccessible cliffs, so the female villagers buy chickens instead-but that's only the beginning of their problems. "The chickens forgot they were chickens. They started acting like ladies. When the ladies went to pick blueberries, the chickens went, too.... When the ladies sang to the sheep, the chickens sang, too." Gunnella supplies paintings of buxom, Botero-like women in black dresses, striped aprons and headscarves, shadowed by chickens who mimic them as they drink tea and try dance steps. When the chickens act more human than fowl, the ladies hatch a plan to make the chickens start laying eggs again, involving intensive pullet re-education and a pulley assembly, and both the ladies and the birds grow stronger and more indomitable in the process. Readers young and old will cheer their ingenuity-that is, when they aren't giggling. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The stylized, folk-art approach to the illustrations in this title reinforces the feel that this is an old story, but it is an original tale in the Icelandic cultural tradition. The village ladies want to use eggs in their cooking and while there are lots of eggs in the nests of the wild birds, collecting them presents a problem (the birds nest on sheer cliff faces). The ladies cleverly make egg collecting an easy task by bringing in domesticated chickens. THEN another problem arises. The chickens stop laying eggs and begin imitating the ladies: having tea, picnics, dancing, and lots of other everyday activities that become most humorous when performed by chickens. The ladies are able to overcome this problem with the ingenious method of getting the chickens to follow them in exercises that make them their wings strong enough to "remember" that they are indeed birds—birds that could also nest in the wild and begin to lay eggs again. Of course, there still remains the problem of collecting the eggs. All of the exercise has so strengthened the ladies arms that they can now lower each other over the cliffs to collect the eggs. And there is also the added bonus that the chickens are strong enough to "fly" the ladies to town to shop. Gently humorous, thoroughly silly, and altogether charming this will make an excellent addition to collections that want to include exposure to a variety of cultures. Be sure to visit the illustrator's art-filled web site: www.gunnella.info. 2005, Houghton Mifflin, Ages 3 to 7.
—Sheilah Egan
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Set in Iceland, this story is about a community of resourceful women who travel to the city to buy a flock of chickens so that eggs are plentiful in the village. However, the chickens run amok and begin to behave more like ladies than birds. Before long, they stop laying eggs. The resilient women develop a far-fetched plan to solve the problem and the merriment swells to a final, hilarious resolution. The playful text is both silly and joyous, without a wasted word. Gunnella's enchanting oil paintings are full of childlike humor and saturated with appealing primary colors. They convey emotion and absurdity with seemingly simple lines and expressive body language. These spirited, buxom ladies and beguiling chickens will be remembered long after the book has been closed. A funny and inventive choice that is also a charming tribute to Icelandic culture and tradition.-Mary Hazelton, Elementary Schools in Warren & Waldoboro, ME Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In a small village at the far end of Iceland, there are plenty of eggs for the ladies to use in cooking, except they are difficult to gather from the cliffs where the wild birds lay them. So the ladies buy chickens who lay many eggs. But the chickens are so happy that they forget they are chickens and start acting just like the ladies: picking blueberries, attending birthday parties and singing sheep asleep. Then they stop laying eggs. The women come up with a clever idea to fool the chickens and solve the problem. As the women exercise, the hens do likewise, until their wings are strengthened and the ladies remind them that they are birds and can fly and they do-to the cliffs where the women, now also strong, can gather their eggs. Gunnella's folk-style oil paintings embellish the wry humor of the brief text, depicting the plump women with aprons, thick legs and babushkas. Brush strokes add to the peasant look and the simple, expressive chicken faces are very beak-in-cheek. Gunnella and McMillan have hatched an "egg-cellent" tale of ingenuity and resourcefulness. (Picture book. 5-8)
From the Publisher
"The playful text is both silly and joyous, without a wasted word. Gunnella’s enchanting oil paintings are full of childlike humor and saturated with appealing primary colors. . . . A funny and inventive choice that is also a charming tribute to Icelandic culture and tradition."—School Library Journal, starred School Library Journal, Starred

"The juxtaposition of McMillan's minimal deadpan text and Icelandic artist Gunnella's comically literal paintings make for some unlikely hilarity."—Publishers Weekly, starred Publishers Weekly, Starred

"Illustrator Gunnella is an Icelandic Dayal Kaur Khalsa—her folk-art-inspired oil paintings have verve, vibrancy, and humor." —Horn Book Horn Book

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547529356
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
09/26/2005
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
32
Lexile:
580L (what's this?)
File size:
13 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Bruce McMillan has written and illustrated more children's books set in Iceland than any other United States author. Going Fishing is his sixth to be set there, and his forty-third overall. He often summers in Iceland, though he lives in Shapleigh, Maine. Bruce holds a B.S. in biology from the University of Maine and has received numerous awards and honors for his children's books.

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