About the Holiday
For over twenty years, the National Chicken Council has used the month of September to promote chicken sales as the summer grilling season winds down. The endeavor has been so successful that September is now known as National Chicken Month! While chicken on the dinner plate or in a sandwich is delicious, chickens also make good pets and—as today’s book proves—great friends!
Bear and Chicken
By Jannie Ho
On a cold winter day, Bear was coming home from his morning walk when “he saw a chicken, frozen in the snow!” He picked her and her knapsack up and brought them inside, where a warm fire crackled in the fireplace. “How does one defrost a chicken? thought Bear.” Bear took a blanket and wrapped the chicken like a burrito and held her tight until her eyes opened. When that happened, Bear smiled and Chicken found herself staring into two rows of very sharp teeth.
Bear took Chicken into the kitchen, where carrots and onions sat on the counter. Bear picked up his cookbook and began to read. “‘You are just in time,’” he said to Chicken. Chicken looked on worriedly as Bear filled a huge, chicken-sized pot with water and put it on the stove to boil. When Chicken inadvertently knocked over a pot of basil, Bear decided it was a perfect addition to his recipe.
With a newly sharpened knife, Bear chopped up carrots, celery, and onions. “‘Hmmm…what else is missing?’ said Bear,” looking right at Chicken. Bear lifted Chicken up to the pot of hot, bubbling broth. Imagining what would happen next, Chicken wriggled out of Bear’s grasp and ran away as fast as she could and out the front door.
Bear chased after her, and even though Chicken “zig-zagged through the trees,” Bear caught up with her. She glanced at the big stick Bear had raised over her head, and thought it was the end for her. But Bear, his feelings hurt, was just holding out Chicken’s knapsack. “‘You forgot this,’” he said. Surprised, Chicken blurted out, ‘”You’re not going to eat me?’” Now it was Bear’s turn to be surprised, and he explained that he was making lunch for both of them.
Still wary, Chicken protested that she wasn’t hungry, but her grumbling tummy gave her away. The two laughed, and after Bear promised to help Chicken find her way home, they went inside to enjoy delicious bowls of vegetable soup.
An adorably illustrated recipe for Bear’s Vegetable Soup and a note about the diet of Black Bears follow the text.
Kids will love the suspense and humor of Jannie Ho’s mistaken purposes story. Her clever culinary puns set the action directly in the kitchen and put young readers in the same mindset as poor Chicken when she wakes up to a very suspicious smile. As Chicken stews about her predicament, little ones will empathize with her while older readers may have fun predicting Bear’s intent. The chase through the woods provides gentle suspense while the sweet reconciliation will have readers giggling along with Chicken and Bear.
Ho brings her distinctively cute artwork to her debut as an author/illustrator with great effect as Bear and Chicken exchange meaningful looks—but is Bear serious about cooking Chicken or just serious about his cooking? Kids will fall in love with little chicken from the moment she’s found in the snow and snugged into a warm blanket. Her worried expression will further endear her to readers, and who can blame them for a bit of worry of their own when Bear’s décor includes such things as a picture of bacon and eggs and the prominently displayed Chicken Cookbook?
A cozy Cozy for the youngest mystery lovers, Bear and Chicken would be a welcome guest on any home, classroom, or public library bookshelf.
Ages 3 – 6
Running Press Kids, 2017 | ISBN 978-0762462667
Discover more about Jannie Ho, her books, and her artwork on her website.
National Chicken Month Activity
A Chicken to Crow About
A long-handled wooden turner makes a plucky decoration for your room or kitchen—and a great reminder to bring your passions to every job! In a few simple steps, you’ll have a cute companion you’ll want to crow about!
- Printable Comb and Scarf Template
- Long-handled wooden turner, available in kitchen supply stores
- Red felt
- Yellow bakable clay
- Fabric, 12 inches square
- A small piece of white felt or fleece (optional)
- White paint (or any color you would like)
- Black marker
- Fabric glue
- Glue gun
- Paint brush
- Paint the wooden turner, let dry
- Cut the scarf from the piece of fabric
- Make a beak from the yellow clay and bake it according to package directions
To make the comb
- Cut out the comb from the red felt
- Fold the felt in half and glue the end together with the fabric glue
- Cut short strips from the folded top of the felt, about ½-inch to ¾ -inch in length
- Round the corners of the strips slightly
To make the scarf
- Fold the fabric in half
- With the long, straight edge of the scarf template along the fold, cut out the scarf
- With the fabric glue, glue the two sides of the scarf together so that you have two “right” sides
- Let dry
To assemble the chicken
- Pinch the bottom of the comb together so that the strips open and the felt pleats a little
- With the glue gun attach the comb to the back of the painted turner, keeping the bottom pinched together
- Attach the beak to the front of the turner
- Draw eyes on the chicken with the black marker
- Tie the scarf around the neck of the handle, hold in place with a drop of glue in the back if necessary
- To make tail feathers in a turner with a hole in the handle, pinch together a small folded piece of white felt or fleece and push it through the hole in the handle of the turner.
- Cut or arrange to look like feathers