With her native Pakistan as the setting, Khan (The Roses in My Carpets) offers a comical parable about competing for a parent's affections. Rani thinks her mother Ami is playing favorites-with a hen, no less. "Somehow that silly chicken has wormed her way in," gripes Rani, as the featherbrained fowl follows Ami around their rural home. "When Ami's back was turned, I whispered, `I'd like to cook you up and eat you!' " Then Rani's murderous wish is fulfilled: the hen gets eaten by a dog ("The gate had been shut. I was sure I shut it," Rani protests). But rather than proceeding to a conventional wrap-up, Khan continues in a refreshingly unsentimental vein: an egg left behind by the resented hen hatches, producing "the cutest, fluffiest little chick I'd ever seen," which Rani immediately adopts and dubs Buchi. "Ami says I love Buchi even more than I love her, but that's just silly," says Rani on the final page-a satisfying and face-saving acknowledgement that it is possible to have all sorts of attachments in one's life. Newcomer Kyong's na f characterizations and flattened perspectives echo the directness of Khan's prose, and also balance the dark humor in Rani's unbridled envy. The sunny palette of vibrant greens, yellows and blues-reminiscent of Southeast Asian folk art-offers readers a sense of calm and reassurance, that they may weather whatever intense, scary feelings they may harbor. Ages 4-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
City children might not understand how someone could love a chicken, but they can identify with Rani's jealousy of Ami's (who we are to assume is Rani's mother) pet hen. Set in Pakistan, the flavor of the country comes through in Yunmee Kyong's colorful illustrations that portray the various reasons Rani thinks the female fowl is silly. Rani complains that Ami loves Bibi, the chicken, more than anything else. Bibi is shown following Ami all through the day as she goes about mundane tasks that will make interesting discussion for read aloud time. She is shown fetching water in a jug from the village well, cleaning a rug, and interacting with the neighbors. Rani is sure that Bibi is worthless but Ami seems to adore the silly chicken anyway and lovingly nurses her back to health after a cold. (Yes, chickens can have colds.) When Bibi finally lays an egg, Ami is delighted and stores it carefully away in a cupboard "for later." In a jarring note intended to explain their absence from home, Ami takes Rani to visit her father's grave. While they are out a dog dispatches Bibi and Rani feels Ami's blame for the loss of the chicken even though she is certain that she closed and locked the gate. The egg, long since forgotten, hatches and Rani finds herself captivated by the "cutest, fluffiest, little chick." Ami says Rani loves the chick more than she loves her, but Rani announces that that is just "silly." This slight book gives a glimpse into another culture and an unusual look at "sibling" rivalry, so it will be a useful addition to a preschool or primary library. 2005, Viking/Penguin, Ages 3 to 6.
PreS-Gr 2-Set in rural Pakistan, this story presents a unique look at sibling rivalry. Rani can't understand her mother's affection for Bibi, a chicken "with long, gangly legs and a silly look on her face." Ami brings the hen indoors when she is sick, uses Rani's old dress to make a nest, and even demonstrates the best position for egg-laying. After much pampering, Bibi finally does produce an egg, which is put away in a cupboard. When the hen disappears and is presumed dead, Ami is devastated and Rani tries to comfort her. Two weeks later, they hear a noise in the cupboard and discover a fluffy chick. The girl is smitten with the adorable creature, which she names Bibi Ki Buchi (Bibi's child). The tables have turned, and in the satisfying ending Rani confides, "Ami says I love Buchi even more than I love her, but that's just silly." The straightforward text does a good job of presenting the girl's point of view, highlighting her feelings of jealousy as well as her concern for her mother. Kyong uses vivid colors and patterns to evoke the setting. Filled with textured brush strokes and bright backgrounds, the paintings have a pleasing folk-art quality. Cultural details are naturally incorporated into both the text and pictures, allowing readers a glimpse into life in another country.-Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
In this classic tale of jealousy (or sibling rivalry), Rani, a young Pakistani girl, resents the attention her mother lavishes on a silly chicken who doesn't even know how to lay an egg. When her mother isn't looking, Rani whispers, "I'd like to cook you up and eat you!" Then one day during the heat of summer, after the hen has finally laid an egg, she disappears. They find dog tracks and feathers in the yard, and the mother is inconsolable. Suspense precedes a happy ending as Rani bravely opens a cupboard to investigate a mysterious noise that comes from within. Ah! Rani comes to love the fluffy chick so much that her mother accuses her of loving the chicken more than her, bringing the story full circle. Joyful, childlike illustrations in bold colors perfectly capture the silly chicken, the mother and child and the rural setting. The emotions ring true, the language is conversational and spare and the pacing just right-a perfect read-aloud. (Picture book. 4-8)