Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

Our Princesses came to visit recently, from far, far away. It’s always fun when they are here because they LOVE, LOVE, LOVE books! They go through our bookshelves like wildfire! They also love our chickens. Odd, I know. But it is what it is. They don’t have real, live chickens where they live. At least I’ve never heard tale of such a thing. So, when they are here at the 7 Acre Wood, they want to feed the chickens and play with the chickens and read all the chicken books.

They also like jokes. They are always knock, knock, knocking. I came up with the perfect book for my chicken loving comediennes —

IMG_0679Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?
This is a collection of 14 picture book artists’ answers to that age-old question.
Contributors include:
Jon Agee
Tedd Arnold
Harry Bliss
David Catrow
Marla Frazee
Mary GrandPre
Lynn Munsinger
Jerry Pinkney
Vladimir Radunsky
Chris Raschka
Judy Schachner
David Shannon
Chris Sheban
Mo Willems
This book was published by Dial Books for Young Readers in 2006

IMG_0684Each two page spread is given over to each artist to answer the big question in their own unique way. This page above is from Tedd Arnold, of Fly Guy fame, who says — “To show the possum that it could be done.”

IMG_0683This page belongs to Marla Frazee, of Boot & Shoe fame,  and shows one side of the road experiencing a terrible storm while the other side is Paradise. Her answer – “duh.”

Most of these were hilariously funny. Some were cute. Some had to be explained to me and the Princesses. Like the chicken who was not just free range, but de-ranged. Or the Sphinx who says “You tell me.” All the “answers” are thought provoking and make use of some outstanding artwork. Some talented individuals came together for this book.

At the end of the book is a spread titled – “Why did the artist cross the road?” Here we have little bits about each of the artists and a listing of some of the books they have illustrated.

The Princesses read this book over and over. They found something new every time. Their laughter made for a fun time for me!

Clicking on the names of the artists above will take you to their websites or some other link with more info about them. Please check them ALL out!

Now for a little science behind the famous joke —

Now go enjoy your weekend – Have a picnic, eat some chicken, read a good book, tell a few jokes and be careful crossing the road!

Your wondering friend
Rhythm
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The Adventures of a Chicken

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We recently got some new baby chicks. They came in the mail. Little baby chicks chirping in the box. It must have been quite an adventure for these tiny things. I wonder what they were thinking in that box. With my big eyes and nose staring at them.

I happen to like chickens. (I like to EAT chicken!) But right now I’m talking about real live chickens that chirp and squawk and have feathers. Feathers do not taste good.

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I like to watch real live chickens strutting around and doing their pecking  and digging  and flapping. I find them amusing. I often lay in the shade of a nice tree and watch them scratching around in the dirt or chasing a grasshopper and I wonder what kinds of things they might dream about. What kinds of imaginations can be found in those tiny brains?

There happens to be an amusing little book by Kate DiCamillo about a chicken with a big imagination.

IMG_0129Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken
by Kate DiCamillo
illustrated by Harry Bliss
published by Joanna Cotler Books
(an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers)
in 2008
Fiction

Suitable for 1st grade and up

Themes – chickens, adventure, “There’s no place like home.”

Louise is a plump white chicken with big eyes and a big imagination. She looks like any other chicken on her farm. But she happens to have a real longing for some adventure. So one day she heads out in search of some. She finds LOTS of adventure. Maybe more than she bargains for. She has a scary time on a pirate ship, a heart stopping adventure with a circus, and a narrow escape from an exotic bazaar. Through all of her adventures she exhibits great naivete and is blessed with the greatest of luck! She also finds that she misses her cozy home and longs for her sister hens.

IMG_0131This was a really fun, swash-buckling book to read! It’s a big picture book with 56 pages. And it has chapters! Four! Each adventure is a new chapter. It also has some interesting words like fricasse and auditions and aerialist and “mon cheri” and mundane and coq au vin. There is some violence and some scary moments that make your heart beat a little faster. This story is anything but mundane! And it is hilarious! My readers loved it! We loved the story and the illustrations. Ms DiCamillo and Mr Bliss are quite an incredible duo!

My reader kids talked about what kinds of adventures they would have if they could. They all liked the idea of pirate ships. One wanted to go diving in the ocean with sharks! One wanted to race cars and one wanted to go on a safari. No one thought that they were brave enough to just leave home and go find adventure all on their own. They all thought Louise was very brave to do that. I just thought she was a little crazy.

There is an interesting interview with Ms DiCamillo on the Amazon page for this book. Visit it HERE. You’ll have to scroll down the page to find the interview.

Harper Collins has some teacher activities HERE.

Kids could make a paper plate chicken like these —

and take them on some adventures!

I leave you with a little entertainment – (I think that this is what my chickens do at night) —

Now skip on over to Susanna Hill’s blog HERE to check out the list of Perfect Picture Books that she keeps. You could make a reading adventure of it!!!!!

Be safe in all your adventures!
Your chicken loving friend
Rhythm

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My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me

maya angelouMs Maya Angelou died this week. A very sad time for the literary world and the world at large. Before this week I did not know much about this lovely lady. Most of her writings, I believe, are a little heavy for the kids who read to me. But I am a bit familiar with her. I have heard her enchanting voice on the radio and seen her face in magazines. And we do have one of her books on my bookshelf. A picture book that we like to take to school to share with my reading buddies.

IMG_0125My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me
by Maya Angelou
photographs by Margaret Courtney-Clarke
designed by Alexander Isley Design
published by Clarkson Potter in 1994

Themes – South African culture, traditions

Suitable for ages 3 and up

It begins ….
Hello Stranger-friend
I am Thandi, an Ndebele girl in South Africa.
I am eight years old, and my best friend is a chicken.

This is a fascinatingly unique book. It is filled with beautiful photographs of Ndebele women, children, and painted houses. It is also filled with the rhythmic words of Ms Angelou painting a picture of life in a South African village. A life quite alien to what my reading buddies are used to. Many of the kids in Glen Rose have chickens. And some even talk to their chickens like Thandi does. Thandi has a mischievous younger brother that she would like to give away. Many of my readers can sympathize with those feelings! But Thandi’s village life is quite a bit different from our small town life. For one thing, Thandi and her friends don’t wear much clothing! Mostly LOTS of beads. And they are quite proud of their beadwork. The women do all the beading and Thandi looks forward to one day being able to make her own beaded apron. The women also paint their houses in fantastic geometric patterns – using chicken feathers as brushes! These are traditions that will be passed down to Thandi and her girl friends.

IMG_0128Thandi says that Ndebele people do not call anything beautiful. They say that the best thing is GOOD. This is a very GOOD book full of joy and the music of hope.

When we read this book, we have Good discussions about different cultures and traditions and how traditions get handed down from one generation to the next. We talk about family traditions that the kids might have.

It would be fun, if you have thumbs, to try painting some pictures using the Painted Houses as a model – and paint them with feathers!

To learn more about the art of the Ndebele visit HERE.

Here are some instructions for GOOD beaded snowflake or star ornaments.

Have some fun and laugh and play like Thandi and her friends!

And try this little game!

Now you might want to venture over to the GOOD Ms Susanna Hill’s blog where she keeps a list of Perfect Picture Books.

I challenge you to go out and find your Rhythm
and Dance!
In memory of the GOOD Ms Maya Angelou
Your dancing friend
Rhythm
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The Easter Chick

This is a pretty special time of the year. Spring is here! The earth is awakening after the long cold winter. New life is emerging everywhere. The Church is celebrating rebirth with a lovely holiday called Easter. I don’t know what “Easter” means. Easter is an unusual celebration, with rabbits laying colored eggs and kids eating lots of chocolate. I like eggs myself, but I’m not allowed the chocolate variety. I also like to join in the hunts for those colored ones. It’s my favorite game!

We have chickens here at the 7 Acre Wood and sometimes we have to hunt for eggs for real. Even when it’s not Easter.

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Sometimes those eggs hatch and we get little baby chicks running around. They can be quite amusing.

At the library this week, we read a cute book about a little chick who wanted to hatch on Easter day and be an Easter Chick. Our friend Allie helped us read this one.

IMG_5870The Easter Chick
by Geraldine Elschner
illustrated by Alexandra Junge

This book was first published in Switzerland in 2003 under the title Das Osterkuken.
It was translated to English in 2004 by Marianne Martens and published by North-South Books

Theme: Easter, chickens, dreams can come true

Suitable for ages 4 and up

It begins –
Hilda had laid the most beautiful egg, and she fussed over it lovingly………Suddenly she heard a little voice. “Mother, when is Easter?”

Hilda is a lovely little orange hen with little lacy bloomers on her legs. She is worried about her egg that hasn’t hatched after several weeks. Then the egg starts talking to her! She is quite surprised!  The voice comes from the little chick inside the egg who has decided that it wants to hatch on Easter and be an Easter Chick. But it doesn’t know when Easter is. (Does anyone ever know when Easter is?) Hilda goes in search of the answer. She asks all the animals in the barnyard, but none of them knows when Easter is. They suggest that she ask Max the Owl.

Max tells her that three things must happen. First she must wait for the first day of spring. On that evening he will hoot once and Hilda must meet him by the barn. When March 21 arrives, Max hoots and Hilda rushes to meet him. He tells her that now she must wait for the next full moon. That night he will hoot two times. Now the illustrations show us the different phases of the moon as Hilda and her chick wait. When Hilda hears the two hoots, Max tells her that the next Sunday will be Easter. “Easter is always the first Sunday after the first full moon that comes after the first day of spring.” Whew!!

On Saturday night before the next Sunday, Max hooted three times and the chick knew that it was time to hatch. Everyone was happy and excited to have a little chick born on Easter.

IMG_5871This is a really fine little picture book. I like how it explains about when Easter is. Easter is not on any specific day like most holidays. It’s rather complicated. The illustrations are quite lovely and humorous. Ms Elschner has taken a serious subject and given it a light touch that makes it more accessible for youngsters. I think that Allie liked this one. I sure did. It had my mind thinking and wondering.

To find out about Easter and where that word comes from check HERE.

Backyard Chicken has instructions for incubating and hatching eggs.

Pinterest has bunches of fun chicken crafts for kids. And GAMES using plastic Easter eggs.

Now you might want to skip on over to Susanna Hill’s blog and see what she’s hatching today! It is Perfect Picture Book Friday and there should be a big list of Perfect Picture Books for you to browse.

I hope all your Easter dreams come true!
Your egg hunting friend
Rhythm

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Saturday Surprise!

I got a big surprise in the mail on Saturday!! IMG_3047Ms Karin Naylor from Rosemary, Lavender and Thyme had a drawing and I was the lucky winner of one of her chicken paintings!!!! Isn’t she a lovely little hen? She has soft eyes. I haven’t figured out where I’m going to hang it yet. I’d like to hang it next to my bed, but the Mom Person is afraid I might drool on it too much. Moms.

IMG_3049So while we ponder the best home for Miss Welsummer Sis, you might want to visit Ms Naylor at her blog here. It’s a relaxing place to learn about chickens and gardening.

To see more of Ms Naylor’s artwork visit her other blog, A Little Corner of the Artist In Me. I think you will like what you find there!

Thank you Ms Naylor!!!!
Rhythm

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A Rather Fowl Day!

There are several varieties of domestic critters who call the 7 Acre Wood home. One of the more interesting is our little flock of chickens. I’ve written about these chickens before. I find them quite fascinating. They spend their days wandering all over eating bugs and scratching up the flower beds. They take sand baths (which I can relate to) and love mud (which I also can relate to). They lay eggs (which I like!). But not always where they’re supposed to, so we have Easter Egg Hunts every day. They have a chicken coop that they are supposed to sleep in at night so they won’t get eaten by raccoons, but some of them prefer sleeping in the trees. Even in the rain and snow!! I have spent a lot of time studying our chickens and can’t decide if they are really dumb or really smart. We can all be out enjoying a nice day in the yard and POOF! the chickens have disappeared! One minute they’re there scratching around, the next they’re gone! Under the bushes. Then I realize a big vulture or hawk has flown over. If nothing else, the chickens are entertaining.

Now I tell you all this because I have a couple of outstanding chicken books to share with you!

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the problem with chickens The Problem With Chickens is by Bruce McMillan and illustrated by Gunnella. It was published in 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Co. It’s a story that takes place in Iceland where the illustrator is from and the author has spent summers. In a small village the ladies would collect eggs from some wild birds that live on cliffs. But it was very difficult to get these eggs so the ladies traveled to the city and got some chickens. Everybody was very happy for awhile – until the chickens started acting like the ladies! The pictures of the chickens doing what the ladies do are hilarious!! Silly chickens! And then the chickens stopped laying eggs! Now I’m not going to tell you how the ladies solved this problem! You’ll have to read the book to find out! But trust me — you will like this whimsical book! It is a funny, thought provoking read. And tells you a lot about chickens!

Big ChickensBig Chickens is by Leslie Helakoski and illustrated by Henry Cole. (Mr Cole is responsible for another book I did recently – Unspoken). Big Chickens was published in 2006 by Puffin Books. It is another really funny book! I wonder if it is possible to write a serious book about chickens? This is the story of four BIG hens who are scared out of their coop by a wolf and run into the woods. They encounter several obstacles in the woods that scare them crazy, but they manage to surmount these obstacles and go on their way. It’s a tale of facing your fears and marching ahead. And in the end they prevail. A funny, funny read aloud with silly, silly pictures. And this book also tells you a lot about chickens!

IMG_1776So the next time you’re out hunting or shopping for eggs, give some thought to those strange creatures that laid those eggs.

Here is a link to some pretty good chicken jokes (if you are so inclined) – click HERE.

And a little musical entertainment –

Have a nice day!
Rhythm

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Counting Goats

The Princesses came for a visit last week. They are a couple of wild girls! They live in the city and don’t get to come visit us in the country very often. The neighborhood where they live is a nice one and they have lots of friends, but they don’t have a pony or goats or chickens or woods to explore or a river to skip rocks in. We have all of these things here.

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The Princesses were quite taken with the goats. I have talked about the goats before. We have TWO Angora Goats. One black and one white. They are very talkative — Maaaaaaa! The Noodle Princess was quite intrigued with this.

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Because they liked those goats so much, we found a book called Let’s Count Goats! It’s a great little book by Mem Fox and illustrated by Jan Thomas. It was published by Beach Lane Books in 2010. It’s a rollicking good romp with goats. Both the girls thought it was super and wanted to read it numerous times.

IMG_0703IMG_0705The illustrations are really funny and show goats eating all kinds of things. Like beach umbrellas and suitcases and tables and airplanes! Our goats eat a lot of stuff that they shouldn’t, but I’ve never seen them eat any of those things! The tale opens with “Here we see a mountain goat frisking in the sun. And here we see a city goat going for a run. But can we count the SEASIDE goats? (I think there’s only one.)” And so it goes — with goats adding up in different scenarios. ( a nice big word!) And there are NO numbers in the book! You have to count them for real! The Noodle Princess, who is just a small wee thing, is just learning how to count and she was jumping right in to see how many goats were on each page!

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I think we give this book 4 paws and 4 hands up! Yay for goats! You should check it out!

Mem Fox has a nice website with all kinds of resources and information about books and reading and literacy.

Jan Thomas has a fun website with a list of her books and fun activities to go with them.

And here is a clip of Ms Fox talking about this very book! Let’s Count Goats!

And with this book added to my 2013 list, I have 288 more to go!

Bok! Bok! Chickens on the Loose!

We have chickens at our house. Chickens are strange creatures. I can never quite figure out if they are really bright or really not so bright. Whichever it is they are very loud and talkative! If they lay an egg, they want EVERYBODY to know about it. If they find a good feast of bugs or whatever, they want EVERYBODY to know about it. If they are just milling around, scratching around, they talk to themselves — a lot of mumbling. They even talk in their sleep! Fascinating!

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Now those chickens talk a lot, but I haven’t ever seen them read a book. But I have a couple of good chicken books for you. Both of them are old stories told in kind of a new way. One book features a really stupid, foolish chick and the other book features a really smart, wise hen. The 1st one is Chicken Little. This version of Chicken Little is by Rebecca and Ed Emberley. It was published by Roaring Brook Press in 2009.

IMG_0502IMG_0507IMG_0505As you can see, the illustrations are big and bright and bold. And a bit Crazy!

In the beginning, Chicken Little is bonked on the head by an acorn. We get the sounds in Big, Bold words BONK! EEP! “Oh my goodness, oh my gracious!” he exclaimed. “The sky is falling!… I must run for my life!” And he does — He runs into Henny Penny and knocks her off her feet – BONK! AWK! And so it goes. Running into all the other barnyard birds until they run into Foxy Loxy who invites them into the big dark cave (his mouth!!) to rest. And in they go! And then in a big fold out spread he SNEEZES them out!

It’s a silly, fun romp and everybody comes out fine in the end!

This is a fun, fun, crazy book. The kids loved it! (There were some words that were a little tough for them) But I loved hearing them make the sounds and laugh!

You definitely need to check this one out!

The 2nd book is The Little Red Hen. This version is by Jerry Pinkney. It was published by Dial Books for Young Readers in 2006. This is a very different story. The illustrations are soft and realistic. The hen in question is wise and clever.

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This is the story of a hen who finds some interesting seeds and asks the other animals what they are. The dog tells her that they are wheat seeds and if she plants them they will grow into wheat for baking bread. She asks for their help and they all decline. Through the whole process of growing and harvesting and milling and baking, no one wants to help. But when it comes time to eat it, they all want to join in! And the wise hen tells them too bad! Yay for her!! This is a quieter read, but a pleasant one. I really like the illustrations.

You should check this one out as well!

Ed Emberley has a great website with lots of fun activities!

Here is a video interview with Jerry Pinkney.
And a link to his website.

And to end this romp through the chicken yard here are the Muppets Classical Chickens!