Review Blog

Jul 17 2017

Chicken Little by Oakley Graham

cover image

Ill. by Kimberley Barnes. Big Sky Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9781925520026
(Age: 3-5) Themes: Folk Tales. Chickens, Heroes. Author Oakley Graham's retelling of the popular English folk tale Chicken Little introduces this story to a new audience. When Chicken Little walks through the woods, an acorn falls on his head. He imagines the worst-case scenario that the sky is falling, and he needs to inform the king.
As Chicken Little races off, he meets Henny Penny, Cocky Locky, Ducky Lucky, Drakey Lakey, Gooey Loosey, Gander Lander, Turkey Lurkey and Foxy Loxy the villain. Each animal listens to the warning that the sky is falling and there is a sense of panic and everyone is easily convinced that this is true. As the group hurries off on their mission, they meet the villain Foxy Loxy, a very clever and very hungry animal. He lures them into his foxhole with the false promise of a safe place to shelter. Luckily, the king's dogs run by and start barking and Chicken Little and his friends are saved.
As the eight animals race away from the hungry fox, they stop under the big oak tree in the woods. 'Plop! Plop! Plop!' Of course, they see the acorns falling down and immediately realise that the sky is not falling!
This cumulative tale with the fun rhyming names and repetitive text is a delight to share with children from toddlers to Early Years students. Kimberley Barnes colourful illustrations are bright and lively. The expressive characters take on human characteristics and wear fun clothing, Foxy Loxy is very stylish in his purple boots. This folk tale's message is do not believe everything you are told. This is an important life lesson, very relevant in this digital age with news and information available in so many formats. Chicken Little also introduces the male and female names for each animal. Foundation learners can engage with the cumulative text, and share their feelings and thoughts about the events and characters. Oakley Graham's picture book is just right for retelling through performance and by developing a class big book using digital media.
Rhyllis Bignell

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