Thursday, March 20, 2008

Review: Chicken Sunday

by Patricia Polacco This is a story from Polacco's childhood. As a girl she and her neighbors Winston and Stewart want to raise enough money to buy the boy's grandmother a new Easter bonnet that she has been admiring. Patricia is over their house for chicken dinner every Sunday and she considers Miss Eula her grandmother too. When they go to try to get a job at the hat shop they are mistaken for some bigger boys who threw eggs at the back door. Old Mr. Kodinski, a concentration camp survivor with a number tattooed on his arm, is a frightening, grouchy old man. After asking Miss Eula what to do the children make "Pysanky" eggs decorated with dye and wax. In order to prove their innocence and restore their good character they bravely go back and offer him the eggs. He is so impressed with their work he suggests that they sell the eggs in his shop to earn the money they need. The eggs sell immediately and out of kindness he gives them the very hat that Miss Eula desires. The story ends with everyone in church on Sunday morning listening to Miss Eula sing with a voice "that sounds like slow thunder and sweet rain."

You can use this heart-warming story to teach memoir writing and the Quaker SPICEs of peace, community, and integrity. Some of the more intense aspects good for discussion with older students are only indicated in the illustrations (like the concentration camp tatoo.) I bought it for my five year old son Buddy's Easter basket.

Links:

Polacco's website where you can read a summary, get art work, postcards, posters and activity downloads. Links here for all of her other books.

Lesson plans, author study, artwork from the book, and information on how to make Pysanky eggs, etc.

5 comments:

TadMack said...

Oh, I remember this book!!! I was weeding out the library at my Mom's early childhood education center, and I got to stop and read this one -- and keep it. Lovely.

mayhem said...

We have this book and the boys enjoy it! It would be a great "easter" book. I need to pull it out to read this week. Thanks for the reminder.

We just got "The Boy Who Didn't Believe in Spring" and it was completely perfect to read right now. It's the story of two little guys who get impatient with everyone saying spring is "right around the corner," so they actually go around the corner to look for it. It was perfect for Sparkle who's been saying, "Is it spring yet today? Is my birthday coming yet? When is spring?" etc, etc.

Susan T. said...

The nice thing about Patricia Polacco's books is that they appeal to older children, too. I think the actual reading level is about 4th grade. We liked Chicken Sunday, too.

Cloudscome said...

Mayhem we have that Believe in Spring book and we love it. When he says "Man I think you tripped on these crops!" It always cracks me up.

I should have said that, Susan, you are right. It is often recommended for older kids.

Shelley said...

Chicken Sunday is a big favorite around here, and I expect that it will be for years to come.