Review of Don’t Count Your Chicks

Don’t Count Your Chicks Don’t Count Your Chicks
by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire; illus. by the authors
Preschool, Primary    University of Minnesota    40 pp.
2/23    9781517914462    $17.95

Based on a Scandinavian folktale, this lesser-known d’Aulaires’ picture book, first published in 1943, recalls Aesop’s fable “The Milkmaid and Her Pail.” An old woman walks into town to sell a basketful of eggs laid by her one reliable hen. Along the way, she speculates how she might turn the profits into, first, a few more hens, then a whole hen house full, and so on until she has become a wealthy lady who turns her nose up at everything—and as she turns her own nose up while she imagines, the basket of eggs on her head crashes to the ground. She laments her lost future for a moment but then heads home grateful for all she has already. Not unusually for its time, the book’s pages alternate between full-color art (in what looks like pastels) and black-and-white (in pencil). Both hold viewers’ attention with their homey details, appealing farm animals, and apple-cheeked, upbeat protagonist.

From the September/October 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Martha V. Parravano

Martha V. Parravano is a contributing editor to The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.

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