Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County

by Janice N. Harrington, pictures by Shelley Jackson. Melanie Kroupa Books, 2007.

This book is a wonder. Ms. Jackson is a poet, a librarian and a storyteller, and she shines in crafting the music of this story. The word choice is exquisite and the timing is perfect.

The chicken chasing queen is a young girl who lives on a farm and loves to chase Big Mama's chickens. Especially one chicken:
"Her feathers are shiny as a rained-on roof. She has high yellow stockings and long-fingered feet, and when she talks - "Pruck! Pruck! Pruck!" - it sounds like pennies falling on a dinner plate. I call her Miss Hen, and she's plump as a sSunday purse - just waiting for me to pick her up."
The queen comes up with one plan after another; grab quick, run fast, drop bait, "shimmy-shaking corn bread from my pocket, crumbs falling like a yellow necklace.", hide and dash, think like a chicken. Nothing beats Miss Hen!

The illustrations done by Shelley Jackson absolutely match the pacing of the text. First we see the queen being admonished by Big Mama to leave the chickens alone, then she is dashing about, then sitting still thinking, and then the page explodes with feathers. The combined talents of author and illustrator are brilliant. This is a book I will read aloud over and over to delighted children, and have a hard time not laughing myself silly each time. Highly recommended!

Other reviews:
Kids Lit
Fairrosa's Reading Journal
Fuse # 8
Read, Read, Read
Chicken Spaghetti


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Saints and Spinners said...

I bought this book based on Fuse's review. I love the written sounds of "pruck! pruck!"