Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
The Problem with Chickens

The Problem with Chickens

Fall 2005 Picture Books
Ages: 5 - 8 yrs.
Author: Bruce McMillan
Illustrator: Gunnella
ISBN: 0-618-58581-8
Hardcover Price: $16.00
Gunnella's goofy red-combed chickens and rotund ladies are certainly the main attraction in this Icelandic romp. Unable to collect eggs from the seabirds, which nest on the precipitous cliffs, the village ladies decide to import chickens to provide much needed ingredients for their baking projects. For reasons not entirely made clear, however, the chickens start acting just like the ladies: picking blueberries, attending birthday parties, and singing (who knows why) to the sheep. Things reach a head when the layers stop laying but the ingenious women soon find a solution that takes them (and their hens) to new heights. Readers looking for logic behind McMillan's deadpan storyline will come away empty handed, but Gunnella's deeply textured, richly hued oils transform non sequitur into buoyant nonsense.
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard   ©2005 Parents' Choice
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard is the Coordinator of Youth Services for the Arlington Public Library system. She has taught courses on children’s and young adult literature at the Catholic University of America and the University of Virginia. She has served on both the Newbery and Caldecott Award Committees of the American Library Association and has chaired the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee and the May Hill Arbuthnot Award Committee. She is a member and past president of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington DC and has chaired the Washington Post–Book Guild Nonfiction Award Committee. She is a founding member of Capitol Choices, an organization of professionals in the field of children’s literature in the greater Washington DC area. She regularly reviews children’s literature and audio productions for a variety of national publications.

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