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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What’s in a Name?

Gargoyle Bruce, the famous Bookshelf Gargoyle, has posed a reading challenge for 2014 — The Small Fry Safari Readers Challenge. I am offering up my second entry for this challenge — Category #4A book with someone’s name in the title.

We recently had a SERENDIPITOUS visit to my favorite book store, Half-Price Books and found TWO fabulous books with TWO fabulous NAMES! So, I have TWO books to offer up! Double Duty for this one.

First up!

IMG_4966Sweethearts of Rhythm, The Story of the Greatest All-Girl Swing Band in the World

Written by Marilyn Nelson and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

Published by Dial Books in 2009

This is a most fabulous book!!! Not just because it’s about Rhythm (ME!) It’s fabulous because it is!! It’s about an all-girl jazz band put together in the 1940s during the war years. From the dustjacket – “They dared to be an interracial group despite the cruelties of Jim Crow laws, and they dared to assert their talents although they were women in a “man’s” profession. The story is told through the voices of the instruments. In verse.

“I led the band in an artillery
of wittlily syncopated quarter notes,
or with the buttery longing her strong lips drew from me
until a warbling April morning filled my throat!”

Heart thumping. And the artwork is mesmerizing. Mr Pinkney lets you feel the RHYTHM on every page. Magic.

IMG_4968At the back of the book is a chronological history of the Sweethearts of Rhythm. In 1909 Laurence C. Jones founded the Piney Woods Country Life School in Piney Woods, Mississippi for poor and orphaned African American children. In 1937 he organized an all-girl band of students from the school. The band included a Chinese saxophonist, a Hawaiian trumpeter, and a Mexican clarinetest along with all the African American musicians, so he called the band the International Sweethearts of Rhythm. They started touring to raise money for the school.

There is also a “note” from the author and one from the artist. Both give some background about the birth of this book. And a bibliography for further research.

I am in love with this book! It is a magical journey — and my feet can’t be still. Dancing to the RHYTHM!

Whew! Now onto my Second selection for the NAME category —

IMG_4963You Are My Cupcake (Cupcake is my good buddie and the star of Cupcake Speaks)

This is a little board book done by Joyce Wan.

Published by Scholastic Cartwheel Books in 2011.

It is a cute menu of endearments often spoken to small ones and dogs and loved ones. As in “you are my cupcake!” And “my mushy little sweet pea.” That’s what my Mom Person calls me a lot – Sweet Pea. Not mushy though. Maybe she will add mushy to it now after reading this book. It is a cute book with big bold words and pictures. Pastel colors with sprinkles on top!

IMG_4965Ms Wan has a great website where you can see more of her work – including cards and books and fun stuff!

So there you have it folks! Two for the price of one – going on safari! Be sure and mosey on over to Bruce’s Shelf and see what other safari titles you might find.

And for your listening enjoyment, here’s a taste of those Sweethearts of Rhythm

I wish you a day of song and dance and plenty of sweet treats!
Your dancing friend
Rhythm

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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!