There are trends in children’s literature, just as in fashion and other endeavors.  2010 was a very good year for chickens in picture books!

When a big, humongous egg hatches and out pops a big, humongous chick, the residents of the chicken coop have a hard time deciding what he is.  

Maybe he is a squirrel or an umbrella or a sweater? Chicken Big by Keith Graves will produce BIG smiles.

In a follow-up to 2008’s Big Chickens, the eponymous birds have wandered into the back of the farmer’s pick-up and are off on an adventure to town.

Reading aloud, “The chickens blabbered, gabbered, and gibber-jabbered” is sure to bring giggles. The return of these scaredy-cats in Big Chickens Go to Town by Leslie Helakoski is something to celebrate.

Yetta is the brave and clever chicken in this flock of books. In Beautiful Yetta: The Yiddish Chicken by Daniel Pinkwater, not only does she escape to freedom, she speaks Yiddish! But Yetta is unhappy and lonely in Brooklyn.

After she saves a parrot from a cat, the green parrots of Brooklyn beg her to stay with them. “In time, because she was so beautiful, and because she could chase cats, Yetta became the leader of the parrots — or maybe their mother.” This is a gentle celebration of language and diversity.

The crowning accomplishment for chickens was the Caldecott Honor given to Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein.

It is bedtime and Papa has promised a story to little red chicken. She has a tendency to get so excited while listening that she interrupts Papa before he can get very far.

Little chicken can’t help but warn Hansel and Gretel about the witch, or admonish Little Red Riding Hood not to talk to strangers. When encouraged to tell her own story, it is interrupted by Papa’s snores.

With good humor and smart wordplay, these stories are wonderful choices to share with the children in your life.

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