Little Chicken Chickabee by Janeen Brian, illustrated by Danny Snell (Raising Literacy Australia) PB
Reviewed by Dianne Bates
Here is another well-designed and well-crafted picture book commissioned by The Little Big Book Club to distribute to parents with the aim of raising literacy in Australia among small children. Attractive painted full-page illustrations and strong repetitive lines introduce the reader to mother hen on her nest in a box with four chickens which have just hatched. Each of the chicks said ‘cheep’ but the ‘last little chicken said… ‘Chickabee!’
Yes, there’s always someone who doesn’t conform! Every time each of the chicks says something (repeated by the others), the last little chicken only says ‘Chickabee.’ When Mother Hen says, ‘No’ and this is repeated by its siblings, the Little Chicken sets off to see the world. Along the way it meets other animals – such as a horse, a cow and a duck – each of which tell him that chickens ought not to say ‘Chickabee’. When the chick asks why, Duck says, ‘It sounds as if you don’t want to be a chicken, that’s why.’
Back home goes Little Chicken, but it still doesn’t fit in. So once again it ventures into the wide world where it meets a range of machines the sounds of which is imitates. Finally it meets a pig which goes with it back home. There Little Chicken is finally accepted by Mother Hen, even though it still hasn’t conformed.
This is a delightful, heart-warming story about acceptance which mirrors the story of a small child which ventures into the world with all of its differences, but is always accepted by its family and friends. Children aged 2 to 5 years are sure to be enchanted by this simple tale.