The Chicken Problem

The Chicken Problem

by Jennifer Oxley, Billy Aronson
     
 

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Full of humor, refreshingly original characters, and math problems that young readers will be clamoring to help solve, The Chicken Problem is an ideal addition to the home or classroom. Left-brained Peg and her right-brained pal, Cat, are enjoying a picnic on the farm with Pig. However, when someone leaves the chicken coop open and the chicks run-a-muck,

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Overview

Full of humor, refreshingly original characters, and math problems that young readers will be clamoring to help solve, The Chicken Problem is an ideal addition to the home or classroom. Left-brained Peg and her right-brained pal, Cat, are enjoying a picnic on the farm with Pig. However, when someone leaves the chicken coop open and the chicks run-a-muck, it's up to Peg and Cat to use their math skills to help solve their poultry predicament.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Peg and Cat have a “perfect” farm picnic planned, complete with a spacey-looking pig as special guest. But when they generously decide to share a tiny piece of pie with a tiny chicken, the 99 other chickens in the coop make their escape: “There were chickens chickens chickens chickens chickens everywhere!” Readers are informed on the first page that solving problems is Peg and Cat’s specialty, and it’s true that they return the chickens to the coop. But it’s a fairly perfunctory process (they carry some and transport the remainder in two wheelbarrows and a baby carriage), especially given the terrific first impression made by Peg (an exuberant, round-headed redhead) and Cat (a purple ovoid with huge, comically beseeching eyes). While there are numerous clues that the book is intended to encourage numeracy, Aronson and Oxley (he’s a veteran writer for stage and TV, she’s an Emmy-award winning animator and director) don’t make much of a connection between mathematical operations and the chicken roundup, aside from some basic addition. Peg and Cat are slated for their own PBS Kids series, Peg + Cat. Ages 3–6. (Sept.)
Kirkus Reviews
Oxley and Aronson present a work based on their new PBS show, Peg + Cat. It's a good thing that Peg and Cat are problem-solvers. Their picnic has been laid, and everyone has a piece of pie just the right size for them--but there are three picnickers and four pieces of pie. While Peg melts down about the lonely piece of pie, Cat goes to the coop and gets a chick, solving the problem. But by leaving the coop unlatched, he has created a bigger problem--100 times larger, to be exact. When collecting the adorable chicks by hand only garners 10, the duo latch onto the MacGuffin of using "wheely things" to lure the chicks back, because "[c]hickens really love going for a ride." While the story is not all that strong, the pictures are a riot, math subtly woven into both the text and layout--the clouds are infinity signs, and the page numbers are all +1 math problems. There are places where the text comes up to the level of the artwork, particularly the spreads that depict the chicks running amok, the text describing their actions so readers can search the chicken-crowded scenes to find them. Standouts include "chickens doing the chicken dance" and "chickens bending over and wiggling their bottoms in the air." Cute, but one can't help but wish for a separation of screen and text. (Picture book. 4-8)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—In this story billed as an introduction to "basic math concepts," Peg and Cat love to "solve problems" and eat pie. Visiting a farm to share their favorite dessert with a resident pig, the child notes four pieces of pie for only three picnickers, so Cat invites a chicken to join them. Problem solved-until Peg realizes that he has inadvertently released 99 other chickens from their coop. Managing to capture only 10 chickens, she has a new problem to solve with the remaining chickens "dashing… splashing… skipping…" all over the farm. When her efforts to corral the fowl don't work, Cat points his tail toward a handy pile of wheelbarrows. "In a flash, the chickens dashed into the wheely things! (Chickens really love going for a ride)" and they are successfully wheeled off to their cages. Now, Peg and friends can sit down and enjoy their pie. Brightly colored, cartoon illustrations appeal in their humorous detail; alternating backgrounds of white space or simulated graph paper and various fonts for narrative, speech, and simple addition equations add visual kick. However, the touted math concepts are weak and barely discernible amid the drawn-out, rather arbitrary plot. Stick with more straightforward choices such as Emily Jenkins's Small Medium Large (Star Bright, 2011), Bill Martin, Jr., and Michael Samson's Chicka Chicka 1,2,3 (S & S, 2004), and Donald Crews's Ten Black Dots (Greenwillow, 1986).—Kathleen Finn, St. Francis Xavier School, Winooski, VT

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375869891
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
09/25/2012
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
286,941
Product dimensions:
8.60(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

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