Thursday, June 04, 2009

review: Chicken Little

Chicken Little written and illustrated by Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley. Roaring Brook, 2009 (978-1-59643-464-6) $16.95

Multicolored, psychedelic eyes bulge, almost seeming to roll; ungainly characters practically bounce across the pages... with so much visual vitality, there's still plenty of life left in this well known story. Chicken Little, who is "not the brightest chicken in the coop," gets bonked by an acorn and immediately decides the sky is falling and he must run for his life. He runs into--literally--several other birds, all of whom get caught up in the seeming emergency, until they meet up with Foxy Loxy, who offers them a safe place to rest--inside his stomach. All ends well, if rather abruptly, when Foxy Loxy sneezes the flock out and they scurry off.

This is pretty much the standard story, with just a few sly editorial touches, like a parenthetical comment on the ridiculous names. The most significant addition to the tale is the manic action, as the brilliantly colored, colliding characters get tossed hither and yon, each with their own particular sound effect--culminating in a fold-out spread as every one of the characters gets sneezed into the air. Despite its boldness, the ending feels unfinished and it's not really helped by a little extra visual on the copyright page. Even though the illustrations are the real star here, I felt the need for a few final words to round out the narrative. (3-6)

© 2009 Wendy E. Betts

Other blog reviews:

Kids Lit
Muddy Puddle Musings - see the comments for a note on the book's technique by Rebecca Emberley

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