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

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County

The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County

Spring 2007 Picture Books
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Author: Janice Harrington
Illustrator: Shelley Jackson
ISBN: 978-0-374-31251-0
Hardcover Price: $16.00
Carefully cadenced sentences reveal the author's background as a professional storyteller in this exuberant tale about a young girl who just can't keep from chasing chickens. Despite Big Mama's admonitions, despite one failed plan after another, the young narrator declares, “...I just can't help it. I try hard to be good—but I'm the Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County.” Odd as this pastime may seem, you can't help believing in her passion. The text is filled with colorful phrases that beg to be read aloud: “fast as a mosquito buzzing and quick as a fleabite,” “feathers (as) shiny as a rained-on roof,” and “so still even my shadow gets bored and starts to walk off.” The text is matched by equally lively collage illustrations that mix fabric, lace, lined and typed-on scrap paper, and photographs with lightly textured paint. Pages explode with graphic energy, angles capture both child and chicken perspectives, and color—glorious color—is splashed everywhere. This delightful combination of read-aloud text and eye-popping illustrations is, quite simply, a winner.
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard   ©2007 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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