Erratic improvisations on "Old Macdonald Had a Farm" frustrate attempts to sing along with this so-so story of a female farmer and her chicken. Crabby Cratchitt has a hen ("E-I-E-I-oh"). Every time the gray-haired farmer tries to nap, she wakes to "a cluck cluck here/ and a cluck cluck there./ Too much clucking everywhere." Crabby Cratchitt grabs a hatchet and chases the garrulous bird all over the farm, but she has a change of heart when a fox nearly finishes the job. Glass's (Monster Manners) caricatures of the barnyard antics recall Paul Brett Johnson's folktale illustrations. Bony, pot-bellied Crabby wears an incongruous outfit of brown skirt and yellow rain boots, and the scenery includes a ramshackle pickup truck, chicken wire and a profusion of straw. Maguire (Five Alien Elves) explains that the maddening "here a cluck,/ there a cluck,/ sounded like a record stuck." Yet his couplets skip like a stuck record, too, from "Crabby had a clever plan./ She'd cook that hen in a frying pan!" to "Crabby Cratchitt, at it still./ That hen was pretty hard to kill." These singsong stanzas require repetitive images of the scowling Crabby and her victorious hen, and this slapstick combination quickly gets stale. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Here is a delightful variation on the familiar nursery song, "Old McDonald had a Farm." This time, the farmer's name is Crabby Cratchitt. Crabby's hen not only goes 'cluck-cluck' here, there and everywherethe noisy hen clucks night and day! Poor farmer Cratchitt can't catch the hen OR a few winks...it's no wonder she is crabby! This lively, picture book is the perfect read-aloud. It uses a familiar rhythm as a base for its clever, new rhymes and sly humor. The eye-popping, full color illustrations bounce across the pages and add modern, funny twists to the text's down-home charm. Young readers will love the surprise ending to this story of a unique friendship. 2000, Clarion Books, $15.00. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Dianne Ochiltree
PreS-Gr 2-"Crabby Cratchitt had a farm,/E-I-E-I-oh./And on that farm she had a hen,/E-I-E-I-oh," begins Maguire's silly twist on the familiar song. "Here a cluck,/there a cluck,/sounded like a record stuck." The noisy little hen foils every plot the elderly woman hatches to get rid of her, from a net trap to a hatchet, but when a fox grabs the annoying chicken, Crabby comes to the rescue. The rhyming text successfully moves the plot along, with only an occasional falter or awkward phrasing. The lengthy conclusion smacks of melodrama: "`Cluck?' she said again. `Please cluck?'/The hen held still./The hen looked ill." Glass's watercolor, pencil, and oil crayon illustrations create a lively, rumpled backdrop for the expressively comic characters. A lightweight romp that children will flock to.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Crabby Cratchitt's constantly clucking hen creates chaos in the barnyard. Fanciful illustrations in watercolor pencils and oil crayon clearly show Crabby's mounting frustration with a noisy hen whose cackling never ceases. "Here a cluck, there a cluck, sounded like a record stuck." As her temper frays, her plans for achieving peace and quiet become increasingly more complex always backfiring on Crabby and giving the chicken the freedom to torture her even further. But when a hungry fox threatens the noisy bird, Crabby comes to the rescue in a surprise ending that reveals her true nature. Awkward, rhyming text (continuing rhythm of Old MacDonald) mars an otherwise clever retelling of the traditional song. Despite this flaw, young children will be satisfied with the story's resolution and the pictures will have them cackling, too. (Picture book. 4-8)