I’ve got twin toddlers who don’t speak yet, but they sure manage to make a lot of noise anyway. And reading books with them together is downright impossible since they haven’t figured out the art of sharing. It always goes down like this: two boys, one on each knee, each with a different book, Mama reading one line over here, one line over there, “Ooh, look at the birdie,” “Yes, that’s the moon!” Dizzying!
They also haven’t learned patience. Pages are just for flipping, so our stories go from page 1 to 14 to 5 to back cover to floor. I’m told they will figure everything out and settle down eventually, but I’m pretty sure the elusive “snuggly bedtime story” scenario isn’t in our future. Sigh.
But at least I’m not alone…it appears the same thing happens in the animal kingdom. That’s right, in dens and caves and coops all over the world, little chatterboxes are driving their parents to distraction at bedtime–and the delightful David Ezra Stein is here to tell us one such story.
Written/Illustrated by: David Ezra Stein
Publisher: Candlewick (August 2010)
Awards: 2011 Caldecott Honor Book
Genre: Picture Book/Fiction
Themes/Topics: Animals, Fairy Tales, Good Manners, Family, Reading, Bedtime
Opening and Brief Synopsis:
It was bedtime for the little red chicken.
“Okay, my little chicken,” said Papa. “Are you ready to go to sleep?”
“Yes, Papa! But you forgot something.”
“What’s that?” asked Papa.
“A bedtime story!”
“All right,” said Papa. “I’ll read one of your favorites. And of course you are not going to interrupt the story tonight, are you?”
“Oh no, Papa! I’ll be good.”
Papa rooster just wants to read little red Chicken a fairy tale before bed…but Chicken is a little too hyper and a little too concerned about the fate of the characters. One by one, she interrupts the stories before they barely begin, saving Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Chicken Little from impending doom before shouting an enthusiastic and definitive “The End!” The looming question is Will this talkative chicken ever stop interrupting and fall asleep?
Links to Resources:
- Candlewick Press has put together a Story-Hour Kit (PDF) that includes engaging activities and printables for Interrupting Chicken that reinforce the major early literacy skills.
- Click here to download a PDF with discussion questions, curricular activities, and links to further study, provided by the Illinois School Library Media Association.
Why I Like This Book: So many reasons! Audience: The book was clearly written with both parents and children in mind, so grown-ups will get just as big a kick out of it as their kiddies will. Illustrations: The vibrant, colorful illustrations of Papa and Chicken just exude warmth, and are cleverly juxtaposed with the classic fairy tales, which are drawn in a different style. Character: The concern the soft-hearted little red Chicken shows for the fairy tale characters is so endearing–and her enthusiasm for saving them so infectious–that it’s hard not to love her, and Papa’s exasperated but loving patience is wonderful to see. Humor: It’s hard to make me laugh out loud, but the line “Don’t panic! It’s just an acorn!” did just that–and quickly became my go-to phrase for high-drama situations. Sure, the story can be used to teach kids not to interrupt, but I don’t think that was Stein’s real purpose here; rather, he’s told an amusing story that both kids and parents can relate to and enjoy together.
Perfect Picture Book Fridays is a shared weekly event started by children’s author Susanna Leonard Hill. You can find the entire list of recommended picture books on the Perfect Picture Books page on her blog.
Chicken stories are always my favorties, and this sounds like it is fab too.
I am so relieved my kids have just started settling down at night to a story. I was beginning to think I’d have to get rid of some books – shock horror!
Thanks for sharing this fun book Renee.
Hah, I took this one out with Ish from the school library and was undecided this week, glad I didn’t double up with you, but I do find it hilarious.
I must start using that ‘Don’t panic. It’s just an acorn!’ line. Ha!
I LOVE the trailer! The book seems REALLY funny! Ms. Johnson is right, chicken stories are great!
I’ve been wanting to get my hands on a copy of this book for awhile and now I know why. Thanks for a great review, Renee. I hope you get the snuggly bedtime stories someday. You may have to consider separate readings for your twins! 🙂
You have described reading with toddlers perfectly! I SO remember those days 🙂 And I’m so glad you chose Interrupting Chicken! It’s a fabulous book and I’m thrilled to be adding it to our list!
@ Catherine and Erik – Chickens rule!
@ Joanna – it’s a great line to diffuse hot-headed situations, for sure 🙂
@ Dana – Alas, I’ve kind of resigned myself to the idea of separate readings — but then there’s the detachment screaming when I re-deposit one twin and withdraw the other…
@ Susanna – So it gets better, right? RIGHT?
This book is so very much fun as a read aloud! It gets my youngest son giggling every single time! It does get easier than the toddler years, but reading aloud to my older boys is often me reading as they play legos, pretend with plastic toys, roll on the ground, throw a ball for the puppy…you get the idea. It may not be the snuggly reading time I always envisioned, but they are listening, even when it doesn’t look as if they are!
LOVE this book – so glad you selected it! 🙂
@ Julie – It’s one of the first I bought, I just got a kick out of it!
@ Heather – Oh, thank you for the words of comfort! They definitely like to snuggle with Mama and a book, but only when they are separate. And they’re right to do so — they deserve one-on-one time! 🙂
This sounds like a great book, and just like bedtime at our house, although now that my boys are getting older, it isn’t as bad. Great review!
I keep seeing this book everywhere I go. It must be very popular with kids. Loved you review. Don’t think chicken knows how to be quiet — she’s exploding with thoughts. Dad is very patient. Great trailer too. Nice selection.
I must read this book! My middle son is an “interrupting chicken,” for sure. Sounds hilarious!
I love this book — especially the ending! (which I promise not to give away)
Great addition to PPBF!
My son’s 2nd grade class read this and he brought it home. I couldn’t stop laughing as I read it — it describes him perfectly. He is *incapable* of not interrupting *every* sentence.
It’s a great book.
Hey Patricia, Natalie, Jennifer, and Beth – it’s definitely a must read, if for nothing else than that acorn line. Gets me every time. 🙂
Isn’t this book the best?? I have a list of books for Perfect Picture Book Friday and this was on it. We must have similar taste :•) You did a great job on your review.
Thanks, Penny! Easy to review a book that gives you so much material to work with!
I’ve been noticing this one too. It looks delightful.
Sounds fun on multiple levels. We sometimes go back, forward and back again before we can finish a story, too.
Loved the way you entwind the reading habits of your boys with the book, made for an excellent review. Loved the review, loved the book. Thanks for sharing Renee.
My son was just like your twins when we first started reading together! Luckily he has settled down now and I can (usually) get through a whole book with few interruptions. And we love this one too, by the way!
@ Carol – It’s definitely worth a read!
@ Stacy – Phew, so glad it’s not just me!
@ Diana – Thank you for noticing! You always leave such lovely comments. 🙂
@ Mary – Glad to know there’s hope for getting through a whole story. I know, I must be patient…
I have one serious interrupter, she likes to do my hair to match those of the people in the book! I love that trailer, I think this would be a good buy for us.
Renee, this is a fantastic choice. My students love this book! Love your website, by the way. It is so bright and inviting! 🙂
@ Jen – So funny about the hair – very creative!
@ Kelly – Aw, thanks for saying so. I’ve found a wealth of goodies on your site as well. 🙂
Great review – and the trailer is so cute! I Found your blog through the comment challenge and will be back!
Renee, I have seen this book but had not read it. The story sounds awesome, and as a mother of three, I can tell you that the interrupting does eventually end. The best is when children hear a story that they love so many times that it’s memorized and they can “read it to you.” Great post.
@ Lynn – Great, glad you came by. I’ve visited Redheaded Stepchild as well and really enjoyed it. I’ve got you on my feeder now!
@ Tracy – Ooh, thanks for the words of encouragement. It always helps to hear from an experienced mom. I look forward to having my little guys read to me…even if I’m not in a hurry for them to grow up.
Hey Stacy! I found this book at the library and it is adorable! Thanks for adding it to the PPBF list. 🙂
Ack! I mean, Renee! I was talking on the phone. Must work on my multi tasking skills… 😀