Review of Chicken Little: The Real and Totally True Tale

Chicken Little: The Real and Totally True Tale
by Sam Wedelich; illus. by the author
Primary    Scholastic    40 pp.    g
6/20    978-1-338-35901-5    $17.99

In this clever spin on the classic tale, Chicken Little makes it clear — right from the get-go — that she’s got plenty of pluck. “Who are you calling ‘little’?” she bristles, glaring out from the book’s title page. After a page-turn, she continues, “I am NOT little! I am PETITE!…and I’m not AFRAID of ANYTHING!” Even so, when something bonks Chicken Little on the head, she nervously wonders whether the sky could be falling. Keen on facts, she starts to investigate, soon interrogating the sky itself, who insists, “I am a blanket of gas held by the pull of gravity. I do NOT fall.” When a curious hen asks Chicken Little what she’s up to, the explanation inadvertently leads to mass hysteria in the barnyard, leaving rational Chicken Little to quell the fear. Wedelich’s hand-lettered text is chockful of humor: there’s “clucky chaos” and “utter hen-demonium” on the farm. Panicky chickens eschew the “safe house” coop because they’re “free-range” and — gasp — frantic fowl run with scissors in order to “cut the fence.” Equally chuckle-worthy, Wedelich’s loose-lined digital illustrations feature a protagonist who sports cowboy boots and oversized spectacles, both tinted fire-engine red. In this fractured fable, empathy ends up saving the day, and the moral (don’t believe everything you hear; check the facts) is broadcast loud and clear.

From the September/October 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Tanya D. Auger

Tanya D. Auger
Tanya D. Auger is a former middle school teacher with a master’s degree in learning and teaching from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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