September 14 – It’s Chicken Month

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About the Holiday

It’s as simple as this – Chicken Is Good!  Chickens Are Good!? Hmmm…I guess it’s a little more complex than I thought.

Chicken Big

By Keith Graves

 

Something big is hatching at the teeny little farm. Not only big, but humongous! Chicks aren’t supposed to be that big, so what is it? The farm’s small chicken agrees that whatever it is, it’s big; the farm’s smaller chicken goes so far as to call it enormous; and the farm’s smallest chicken declares it’s an elephant, and warns that indoor elephants are dangerous! The chickens all agree on one thing—this creature is too big to stay in the itty-bitty coop. The newly hatched chick doesn’t feel like an elephant and wishes he were a chicken.

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Image copyright Keith Graves, courtesy of keithgravesart.com

The next day an acorn conks the smallest chicken on the head, causing the familiar “the sky is falling” panic to hit the teeny farm. While the chickens are running around like chickens with…well, you know, the big chick discovers that acorns are tasty. Seeing the chick eating acorns convinces the smallest chicken that their new coopmate is indeed a…squirrel!

When the rains come, the big chick protects the others under his wing, so the smallest chicken decides this barnyard biggie is an….umbrella! It doesn’t take long for the smallest chicken to realize she is wrong, and that the yellow fellow with the chilly wind blocking skills is a…sweater!

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Image copyright Keith Graves, courtesy of keithgravesart.com

When the chickens return to the coop for naptime and discover their eggs have been stolen, they boo hoo hoo into their feathers while the humongous chick scouts out the fox carrying the precious cargo into his den. With a hop and a jump the big chick spans the mile and peeps into the fox’s home just as he is about to fry up some lunch. Frightened by the “hippopotamus,” the fox scampers away.

Big chick brings back the eggs and is proclaimed a hero. Finally the big chick’s intelligence, kindness, and bravery convince the chickens that he is one of them, and they welcome him into the coop. There’s just one problem…he doesn’t quite fit. Showing compassion and uncharacteristic understanding, however, the smallest chicken is the first to say they’ll make room.

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Image copyright Keith Graves, courtesy of keithgravesart.com

Keith Graves has hatched up a manic tale of mistaken identity that will keep kids giggling and groaning with delight as the possible aliases grow more and more ridiculous. The feather-brained chickens are drawn with comic masterstrokes as they frantically try to determine who or what has invaded their farmyard. The big chick is indeed big—dominating the page and towering over his coopmates. Incorporating comic-style conventions on some pages, such as speech bubbles and small panels, as well as mixed typefaces adds to the humor.

Ages 4 – 8

Chronicle Books, 2014 | ISBN 978-1452131467

Like the best children’s museums, Keith Grave‘s website is a colorful and crazy compendium of his work!

While I take some personal days over the next couple of weeks, I am re-blogging some earlier posts with updated interior art and links.

Chicken Month Activity

CPB - Chick single

Hatch a Chick! Craft

 

Chicks are so cute and fluffy—you just wish you could have one of your very own! Now you can! Hatch your own chick with this craft.

Supplies

  • Cotton balls
  • Yellow chalk
  • Orange paper
  • Black paper
  • Egg shell
  • Paper grass
  • Cardboard or poster board
  • Cheese grater
  • Bowl
  • Green paint
  • Glue
  • Scissors

Directions

To make the shell

  1. Crack an egg and save the two halves
  2. Soak the eggshells in soapy water or wash gently with soap
  3. Dry eggshell

To make the chick

  1. Grate the chalk with the cheese grater into the bowl
  2. Roll the cotton balls in the chalk dust until they are covered
  3. Choose one cotton ball to be the head
  4. Make the beak from the orange paper by folding the paper and cutting a small triangle. The triangle’s base should be along the fold.
  5. Cut two small eyes from the black paper
  6. Glue the beak and eyes to the head cotton ball
  7. Glue the head cotton ball to the body cotton ball
  8. Set the chick into one of the eggshell halves (you can glue it in if you wish)

To make the stand

  1. Cut a 3-inch by 3-inch square from the cardboard or poster board
  2. If you wish, paint the square green
  3. Glue green paper grass to the square
  4. Glue the eggshell halve to the stand.

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