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Review: Chicken Big by Keith Graves

Chicken Big
By Keith Graves
Chronicle Books
ISBN: 9780811872379
Grades K-2

A offbeat take on the well-known Chicken Little, Chicken Big goes in a different direction, displaying the sort of lighthearted goofiness that goes over well with a crowd.

A humongous egg leads to a humongous chick. When Chicken Big arrives, the other fowl don’t know what to make of him.

“It’s big!” clucked the small chicken.

“It’s enormous!” clucked the smaller chicken.

“It’s an elephant!” peeped the smallest chicken.

After being cast out of the coop, it quickly becomes clear that the big chicken is also the only one with any sense. Little by little, our hero’s levelheadedness saves the other chickens from “the sky is falling!” catastrophe. When he saves the coop’s eggs from a scrambled demise at the hands of a fox, the others realize he’s one of them.

Full of character, there’s a likeable cartoonish quality to the pencil and digital illustrations. The palette isn’t composed of retina-burning primaries, but more subtle, rich hues. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I get a distinct 80’s Saturday morning cartoon vibe from the artwork (see the excerpt below) that pairs nicely with the silliness of the storyline.

All in all, an entertaining number that will prove popular with the lower elementary set. Chicken Big should be big in your collection.

Review copy from publisher.

Read an excerpt:

Chicken Big

Also reviewed by Kids Lit, Picture Book of the Day.

Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.