From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2–The pint-size poultry are as brainless as ever in this quirky revision of the classic “Chicken Little” tale, but the hero here is mysterious Chicken Big. Is he an elephant? The smaller chickens are sure that he could not be one of them and exclude him from the coop. When an acorn falls on the smallest one's head, she thinks the sky is falling. But when clear-headed Chicken Big explains what it is and pops it into his mouth, the other chickens decide that he must really be a squirrel. Chicken Big's unwilling companions arrive at one ridiculous conclusion after another. He protects them from the rain, so he could be an umbrella. He keeps them warm in a cold breeze, so he could be a sweater. When all the eggs go missing and Chicken Big saves the day, the others realize that “only one thing could be so smart, so kind, so warm, and so brave.” (A chicken, of course.) Graves's pastel-hued illustrations with comic-style panels have a spontaneous and quirky quality reminiscent of Mo Willems's Pigeon and Leonardo books, and thoughtful design plays up the disproportionate size of Chicken Big. An amusing tale that will draw giggles from preschool and early elementary read-aloud audiences, this is a fun addition to any collection or comparative folklore unit.Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI
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In a sort of mash-up of “Chicken Little” and “Blind Men and the Elephant,” henhouse residents are set aflutter by the arrival of an enormous new hatchling. What is it? An elephant, opines the smallest chicken. But when that same hen (“not the sharpest beak in the flock”) is hit in succession by an acorn (“The sky is falling!”), a drop of rain (“The sky is leaking!”), and a cold breeze (“Someone has put the world in the refrigerator! We’re all going to freeze!”), the monster provides both common sense and protective bulk—and in return is identified as a squirrel, then an umbrella, then a sweater. Graves illustrates this crowd-pleaser with simple cartoon scenes in which the new chick looms hugely, rolling its eyes at the antics of a quartet of scraggly, pop-eyed, appropriately silly-looking poultry. In a satisfying resolution, the chick dashes off heroically to rescue a clutch of stolen eggs from a marauding fox, earning proper recognition, acceptance—and, most likely, loud requests for repeat readings from delighted audiences. Grades 1-3. --John Peters