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Big Chickens Perfect Paperback – February 1, 2008

41 customer reviews

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Perfect Paperback, February 1, 2008
$165.18 $23.52
--This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 1–Helakoski gives a new twist to the old story about a henhouse and a furry predator in this funny story. These four suggestible hens are chicken in more ways than one. When they first spy a wolf, they run off to hide in the woods, but are soon frightened by a ditch, and then by a peaceful-looking group of cows, and on and on, until they end up in a cave, where an encounter with actual danger leaves them feeling brave for the first time. Bright pictures convey the comic events with an exaggerated style just right for the story line. Theres a satisfying amount of silliness that will leave children giggling at the panic-stricken fowl and the chaos they produce wherever they go. Predictable patterns in the language and in the narrative structure add appeal as well. As fluffy as the hens tail feathers, this selection will be an enjoyable read-aloud for kids on a lap or in a group.–Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

PreS-Gr. 2. Four "cautious, careful" chickens conquer their fears in this lighthearted tale. After spotting a wolf in the barnyard, the birds flee their coop, and then are afraid to return home. Everything scares them--a muddy ditch, a pasture filled with cows, a lake. But they persevere and manage each obstacle--until they arrive, "dirty, dusty, dripping, [and] dazed," at a cave, where they stumble upon the wolf who set off the chain of events. The surprise? This time, it's the wolf that flees, and the triumphant chickens swagger back home with newfound confidence. Helakoski bolsters the slim story with infectious repetition and rhyme that will encourage young listeners to chant along. Cole exaggerates the chickens' bug-eyed terror and smug triumph in expressive, full-page ink-and-watercolor pictures that are sure to provoke giggles, and children will delight in the powerful role reversal as the timid chickens realize that bullies aren't always what they seem and that the scariest fears can be overcome. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Perfect Paperback: 29 pages
  • Publisher: Perfection Learning (February 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756989132
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756989132
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 9.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,113,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Leslie Helakoski grew up in south Louisiana. She is the author of Big Chickens (the Michigan Reads Picturebook for 2007, Great Lakes Great Books Award and a GLBA finalist) and Woolbur (a Book Sense pick for 2008, Florida Reading Assoc. Honor Book and nominee for state book awards in 9 states) Her other books include Big Chickens Fly the Coop, The Smushy Bus and most recently she authored and illustrated Fair Cow. See book trailers for her books, Fair Cow and Big Chickens at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By L. Woodford on July 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is just delightful for an adult and for children of a wide age-range. It is great for beginnning literacy skills with repetitive phonology, use of contrasting concepts, and interesting descriptive vocabulary along with a great ending showing how teamwork can make everyone a success. This is one book I will use over and over in my preschool language development groups.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is why I think this book should have won the Caldecott medal......

Because it is very funny how the chickens are really scared at first and then they accidentally end up doing adventurous things and they keep on doing them and they conquer their fears.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Beth Walter on March 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have purchased both of Leslie Helakoski's books. I have found each to be a delightful children's story with a clever message tucked lovingly between the pages. She is truly gifted in her efforts to "teach" children through the art of story - as so often our efforts as teacher/parents, etc. get filtered out.

Each book offers the child the opportunity to read and discover something about themself (i.e. courage..."The Big Chickens" or a fun with mathematics "The Smushy Bus"). But her books also allow the delicious opportunity to share the reading within the intimacy of parent-child, teacher-student, sibling-sibling and enjoy the noticing of each clever phrase, each well-chosen word to more fully take in the entire experience of her books.

Much applause to Ms. Helakoski for her gift not only to chilren but her gift to the legacy of books.
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Format: Paperback
When a book announces by its title that the subject is "Big Chickens," then it is quite safe to assume--are you ready for this?--that the book is about BIG CHICKENS!! Literally and figuratively! Big Chickens!

Whew, that was funny! With a great title, Writer Leslie Helakoski and Illustrator Henry Cole combined their talents to create a really funny but practical book. The chickens are made to look both silly and beautiful. Go figure. Their faces, their antics, their ways--all show just how silly these biddies are. But their full-feathered figures and delightful farm fancy frocks belie their innate bird beauty.

The story itself reveals all facts and secrets about these farm fresh matrons. They see a wolf one day coming to the hen-house. The repetition of sentence structure is set on the first page of narrative and is almost my favorite part of the story (how can you not love best a big, fluffy hen dressed in clothes!?) Listen: "The chickens pwocked, flocked, and rocked. They knocked into themselves...." and are spilled out the door with its slamming closed, locking them out into a world inhabited by wild, wooly wolves! This four-word rhyming structure will open each new chicken--that's cowardly chicken--episode with the chickens acting like, well, chickens, you know--chicken chickens. (See why the title is so funny?).

They fall into a ditch ("tutted, putted, and flutted...butted"). The funniest episode (to me) is the one which shows their fear that cows will chase them. "What if we get poked with their horns?" To escape the cows they board a rowboat. "What if we hit an iceberg?" They "sputtered, shuddered, and muttered...and fluttered.
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By annie VINE VOICE on February 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
Big Chickens by Leslie Helakoski is a very funny book that should be read with LOTS of expression. When I select several books to read to my grandkids, they always want this one read first. Maybe it's because they know how much gramma enjoys reading it with great gusto! This is not a book for quiet story time, this book is just so funny everyone will be laughing.

The illustrations by Henry Cole are simply perfect. We laugh over and over every time we see those silly chickens in their cute outfits pwocking, flocking and rocking.

The storyline is simple, the chickens see a wolf sneak into the farmyard and they run away and have quite an adventure. At one point in the story the chickens come to a lake and this is how the conversation goes:

"I'm afraid of the water," said one chicken.
"Ohh...." said the others.
"Me too."
"Me three."
"Me four."
"What if the boat sinks?"
"What if we fall in the lake?"
"What if we hit an iceberg?"
The chickens sputtered, shuddered and muttered. They fluttered into themselves and each other; until...
the boat tipped, and one by one they fell out.

Buy this book for your kids and grandkids, it will you bring a lot of laughter into your story time.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book just may be one of the best children's books written. It's a fun read. An easy read. And a quick read. It's not one you mind reading over and over again, and it's a very good chance you will, not just for your kids enjoyment, but for yours as well. The story is about 4 Big Chickens, who are very big chickens indeed, who continously and hilariously stumble into predicaments they had wanted to avoid, such as being afraid of water, but of course they fall in, and afraid of cows, whom they end up tumbling with, all as they try to avoid the wolf who they ultimately run into at the end of the story anyway, with a very funny ending! And in the end, the 4 big chickens discover they are 4 big BRAVE chickens. At least in their own minds. A cute, fun, and enjoyable book that I highly recommend, along with it's sequel, "Four Big Chickens Fly the Coop." Don't hesitate. You'll love it!
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