Knock. knock. Who's there? Interrupting chicken. Interrup— bok! bok! Interrupting Chicken, the picture book!
Welcome "bok!" to this fun 9-day tour to promote Stein's comical new book, inspired by the classic interrupting animal joke.
Some of you know this joke as the interrupting cow joke, but alas, cows don't have poofed-up combs or fuss about going to bed -- all qualities that make the chicken in this book so charming.
Stein, who won the 2008 Ezra Jack Keats New Author Award for his picture book Leaves about a little bear who tries to reattach fallen leaves to a tree, is also the author-illustrator of Pouch!, The Nice Book and Cowboy Ned & Andy.
I hope you enjoy my review, then check out my chat with Stein and click links to other great blogs on the tour.
Written & illustrated by David Ezra Stein
Candlewick Press, 2010
$16.99, ages 4-8, 40 pages
A pert little chicken cuts into her papa's bedtime stories, then gets a taste for how it feels to be interrupted while reading aloud in this adorable picture book.
The little red chicken doesn't mean to be a bother, but whenever Papa gets to a part where something really bad is about to happen, the little red chicken can't help herself and clucks out warnings to characters.
Jumping onto the pages of Papa's fairy tale book, she first warns Hansel and Gretel not to go into the witch's candy house and later yells in Little Red Riding's face, "Don't talk to strangers!" just as the big bad wolf is about to lure her off the path.
Each time she interrupts, the story screeches to a halt and the little red chicken flashes Papa a big, sweet smile and promises if he'd just read one more little story, she'd definitely be good.
Papa tries to be patient (he doesn't once crow) but when he gets to the part in Chicken Little when the foolish chicken is about to run off and tell everybody that the sky is falling, the little red chicken again cuts him off.
Beak-to-beak with Chicken Little, the little red chicken squawks, "Don't panic! It was just an acorn!" and Papa collapses with exasperation onto the cover of the book.
Once again, another story has come to an abrupt stop and the little red chicken is all apologies. But then again she couldn't just let Chicken Little get in a tizzy about a tiny acorn, could she?
(From the looks of her bedroom wall, the little red chicken has given Chicken LIttle's plight considerable thought: a picture shows an arrow pointing from a falling acorn to Chicken Little's head. And isn't that an acorn engraved in her headboard?)
By now, the little red chicken has derailed all of the stories Papa was planning to tell her that night and to her papa's great chagrin, she's still wide-awake!
Yawning, Papa suggests to his little girl that she tell him a story instead.
Perfect. The little red chicken jumps at the idea and is soon reading aloud.
In her story, a little chicken tries to get her papa to sleep, but instead -- as her pictures show -- he shakes his fists and scrunches his eyes in defiance.
Just as she gets to,"nothing worked: he stayed wide awake all -", her real papa lets out a huge snore, then another, startling not only his little red chicken but her drawings as well.
So what's a happy-go-lucky little chicken to do? …Make her own happy ending, of course.
Stein's clever book will have little readers giggling at every interruption and might even inspire them to rescue their own favorite storybook characters. (Stein's apologies to sleepy parents, I'm sure.)