Four big chickens find a big bag of chicken feed in the bed of the farmer's pickup truck. While they are "picking, pecking, and poking" in the back, the farmer gets in the truck and heads away. Suddenly the big chickens are nervous and asking questions like "What if we never get home again?" and "What if we can't get this bag open?". As the chickens are kvetching (I love this word and it is a great example of how author Leslie Helakoski has fun with the text), they are tossed from the truck and land in the street of a big city. What ensues is a series of "chicken out of water" experiences for our rural hens.
Big Chickens Go to Town is a verbal and visual delight chock full of vivid adjectives and verbs and illustrations by Henry Cole that are colorful, funny, and shown from a chicken point of view. This would be a book to read for students who are in a new environment (i.e. kindergartners in their first week of school) since the chickens have some startling moments but turn out okay (see Susan Weitz review).It would also be helpful for teaching word choice in writing since Helakoski is so nimble in her descriptions.
Click on the websites for Leslie Helakoski and Henry Cole for some fun activities for students.