Perfect Picture Book Fridays are the creation of the lovely children’s book author Susanna Leonard Hill. Check in each week on Fridays for new book reviews. Susanna also has a complete list (alphabetically and by theme) of all the book reviews. It’s a wonderful resource if you’re looking for activities for a book, or books focused on a particular theme.
Author/Illustrator: Dave Horowitz
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin
Genre: Fiction picture book
Opening: Once upon a time, in the mountains of Peru, a chick was born who was afraid of everything. [Yikes!] An when I say he was afraid of everything—I mean he was afraid of everything. This poor little guy was even afraid of his own shadow. [Help! I’m being followed…]
Synopsis: (from publisher’s website) Chico is afraid of everything, even his own shadow. His dad tries to bolster his confidence by telling him about the legendary Golden Chicken, but Chico doesn’t believe anyone could be that brave. So he sets off into the mountains to find the Golden Chicken, certain that the heroic bird will give him advice. Instead, his quest leads him to something he definitely wasn’t seeking–an adventure! Before he knows it, he’s soaring through the sky to the very place where a courageous hero is most needed–his own hometown, where the dreaded Llama Llama Gang is turning things upside down.
What makes it great: The quirky storyline and deadpan humor, plus a setting that gives the tale a mythical quality.
What readers notice: Both my 7- and 3-year-old enjoyed this story a lot and have asked to re-read it multiple times. They loved the idea of little Chico flying in to rescue the whole village and save the day.
What a writer notices: I really love how this book is crafted. Details that seem whimsical at first become essential to the storyline, and everything comes full circle in the end. I also enjoyed the author’s use of speech bubbles which added a lot of humor to the storyline without becoming too unwieldy for a read-aloud (which I often find true of books that incorporate speech bubbles).
Activities/Links to Resources:
Book trailer: http://www.horowitzdave.com/movies.html
A preschool lesson plan about bravery: http://teachers.net/lessons/posts/2404.html