Friday, May 11, 2007

Never Say Fry! My Life as a Chicken

Chickens are having a big year! First Dial Books published Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?, reviewed here on April 3, and then Harcourt hatches My Life as a Chicken, a hilarious Perils of Pauline, (that's Pauline Poulet, BTW) professional poultry victim.

Pauline knows eggs: she hatched out of one, you know, and went directly to laying them day after day. However, something (could it be that copy of 101 Chicken Recipes the farmer is studying?) tells her that living to be a tough old stewing hen is not in the cards for her here.

Has Farmer hatched a crafty plan
To throw me in the frying pan?
I'll be his special of the day
At the Cock-a-Doodle-Doo Cafe!

Pauline peruses that it's time to fly the coop or as she puts it, "Be plucky or be plucked!" Life is not always serener on the other side of fence, however, as Pauline encounters chicken pickin' foxes, a wild river, and the stormy ocean in her flight. There, double-bawwwk, she's captured by a crew of gleeful pirate cats, themselves lusting for a tasty chicken entree.

Pirates pull me from the foam,
Why, oh why, did I leave home?

Squawking her motto, "Pauline, Prevail!" the hen with chutzpah escapes the pirates via a serendipitous hot-air balloon, only to have a chicken hawk spy her tasty drumsticks and dive, popping the balloon and sending Pauline spinning downward until she snags a passing kite.

I rode the kite, cling and swing,
Weary, wounded, weak of wing.

At last Pauline's pluck is rewarded, and she settles to earth in a place just right--a children's petting zoo where she can be properly celebrated like the princess of poultry she is.

Poet Ellen Kelley's verse is zippy and light as, well, a feather, and floats through Michael Slack's vigorously comic illustrations to keep the story moving to the very satisfying conclusion of Pauline's peregrinations. Kids will cackle for this sunny-side-up tale which definitely doesn't lay an egg!



Post a Comment

<< Home