Chicken Big Book Review


Chicken Big by Keith Graves, reviewed by Susan Fry

There are times when every child wonders whether they really, truly belong in their family.  As a vegetarian, spicy-food loving gal, I would regard my own parents’ British, meat-and-pudding lifestyle with astonishment.  “I must be adopted,” I’d hope, even though I looked exactly like my grandmother.  And who knows what my parents thought when I served them tofu . . . .

Chicken Big’s dilemma is much funnier.

“On a teeny little farm, in an itty-bitty coop, a very small hen laid a big, humongous, egg.”  When a big, humongous chick hatches out of the egg, all the other chickens are perplexed.  “What is it?” they wonder.

The smallest chicken, “not the sharpest beak in the flock,” has an answer.  “It’s an elephant!” she announces, confidently.

The other addle-brained chickens believe her, and Poor Chicken Big is forced to sit outside.  “I wish I were a chicken,” he thinks, forlornly watching his family in their coop.

But when crises arise, the mysterious creature comes to the chickens’ rescue again and again.  Do they recognize him as one of their own?  Unfortunately – and hilariously – not.  When the smallest chicken thinks the sky is falling, Chicken Big simply eats the acorn that hit her on the head.  “He must be a squirrel!” she proclaims.  When Chicken Big shelters the others from the rain, the smallest chicken decides that he’s an umbrella.

Even Chicken Big realizes that “These are not bright chickens.”

But, as with the best of families, he still loves them and wants to belong.  Finally, after Chicken Big rescues stolen eggs from a thieving wolf, the others persuade the smallest chicken that only a chicken, after all, could be so smart, warm, and brave.

Even if he snores like an elephant.

Susan Fry is a writer and mother in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s written for Stanford Magazine, salon, the San Jose Mercury News, and many other publications.

You can check out the Sweet Peas & Stilettos’ children’s books page for quick access to all of Susan’s wonderful children’s book reviews.

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