written and illustrated by Keith Graves
(Chronicle Books) 2010
Source: Mebane Public Library
On a teeny little farm, in an itty-bitty coop, a very small hen laid a big humongous egg.
Thus begins the tale of Chicken Big, who despite his size, just wants to fit in with the rest of the chickens in the coop. The other chickens, who make him stay outside because of his size, think he is an elephant. When an acorn lands on the head of the smallest (and least bright) of the chicken group, the chickens run for their lives because they believe the sky is falling. The much bigger (and smarter) Chicken Big explains that it is just an acorn and nothing to be afraid of. This dispersion of knowledge leads the unMensa - like (indeed, unMensa is not a word, but I kind of like it) smallest chicken to declare Chicken Big to be a squirrel. This confusion of animal identity continues until a sneaky red fox carries eggs away from the coop and provides Chicken Big an opportunity to prove that he is certainly a chicken.
Chicken Big is a very funny book as verified by two classes of kindergarten children. It is also a book that would be a great mentor text for teaching children about punctuation and how different authors use fonts to help tell the story. Professor Emeritus (of the Chicken School in Austin, Texas) Keith Graves may have set a record for most exclamation points in a single picture book and this fits the story perfectly. There is a ton of dialogue so you can teach how to use quotation marks as well. Several comic book elements (speech bubbles, multiple panels on a single page) are present in this book which opens up the possibilities for young writers seeking to stretch their own writing wings. Chicken Big provides laughter and opportunities to model good writing. I have got to create a unit on chickens next year!
Other reviews of Chicken Big:
100 Scope Notes
Picture Book of the Day
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