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The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County Hardcover – March 20, 2007


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 620L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); First Edition edition (March 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374312516
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374312510
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 0.3 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #464,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 2—In this delightful story about life on a farm, an African-American youngster is determined to become the best chicken chaser ever, although Big Mama repeatedly asks her to leave the animals alone. Despite the girl's best efforts, her favorite chicken, Miss Hen, always manages to escape. As the summer days wear on, she finally finds Miss Hen's hiding spot in the tall green grass. She is sitting on a nest with "fuzzy chicks cuddling tight beneath her wing," and although it would be easy to grab her, the child makes a more mature decision and resists the temptation. Harrington uses exceptionally colorful and descriptive language throughout the tale. Miss Hen has feathers as "shiny as a rained-on roof" and is as "plump as a Sunday purse." Her calls sound "like pennies falling on a dinner plate." Jackson's intriguing collages, combining printed cloth with painterly brushstrokes, will have readers lingering over the pages. The birds' feathers are fashioned out of different materials, including fabric, marker pen on loose-leaf paper, newsprint, and lace. Shifting perspectives capture the thrill of the chase as well as the calm of quieter moments. The youngster's face clearly expresses determination, understanding, and pride. This book makes a marvelously delicious read-aloud, accompanied by participatory "prucks" and "squawks" from the audience.—Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Harrington, whose Going North (2004) was named a Booklist Top of the List--Picture Book, offers another winning book. "I'm the Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County," announces a young African American girl. Gray-haired Big Mama warns her to leave the birds alone, but the girl can't restrain herself: the chase is too much fun, and the elusive Miss Hen is her ultimate prize. When the girl finally manages to sneak up on Miss Hen in the grass, she discovers her prize surrounded by chicks, and the girl instantly reforms: "I know you're a mama now . . . . I won't trouble your babies." Both words and pictures elevate a simple story about a girl's sly barnyard game into a rollicking, well-told delight. The words are both colloquial and poetic, and Harrington perfectly balances the tense strategizing and stalking ("I sneaky-hide behind Big Mama's wheelbarrow and make myself small, small, small") as well as the gentle caring that follows. Jackson's exceptional collages of cut paper, fabric, and paint magnify both the feather-flying action and the characters' emotions, including the loving bond between the girl and Big Mama. Kids will easily feel the irresistible allure of a subversive game as well as the deep bond with an animal friend. A first-rate read-aloud. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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An absolute gem of a book.
Kemie Nix
She tells her own story in folksy language, "I always do three things, eat breakfast, tell stories to Big Mama, and--when Big Mama isn't looking--chase chickens!"
Kirsten G. Cutler
The story was well written and the illustrations are great as well.
M. C. Wallace

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kemie Nix on June 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Called "Baby" and "Girl" by Big Mama, the first-person narrator does three things. every morning after she has brushed her teeth whiter than a biscuit. She eats breakfast, tells Big Mama stories, and chases chickens. She has given herself the fine, richly deserved title of, "The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County." Her favorite prey is Miss Hen, who completely and competently eludes her.

In this delightfully humorous story of a small country girl's favorite pastime, young readers, who will likely never meet a free-ranging chicken, will relish the perfect ending. The vernacular of our queen never hits a false note. The illustrations of the happy, self-satisfied child make the viewer smile just to look at them. Collage and watercolor, and chickens flap across pages. The picture of girl and hen studying each other with one eye closed is truly classic. An absolute gem of a book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kirsten G. Cutler on April 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Harrington, Janice N. The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County

I absolutely love this book. It is full of delicious language, "The chickens watch me, and I watch them. I think all kinds of chicken thoughts so they will not know I am up to something... Worms, slurms, swishy-mishy, ickly-tickly worms!" The exuberant text begs to be read-aloud and the illustrations are outstanding.

Right from the beginning, a young African American girl announces, "I'm the chicken-chasing Queen of Lamar County." She tells her own story in folksy language, "I always do three things, eat breakfast, tell stories to Big Mama, and--when Big Mama isn't looking--chase chickens!" She knows that she is breaking her Grandmother's admonition not to chase the chickens because they might stop laying eggs but just cannot "help herself". One double spread shows the girl's shinning eyes and incredible smile as she is reaching out to catch a chicken. Big Mama's wise sayings are fluidly incorporated into the story, "Big Mama says you can do anything you put your mind to -if you want it bad enough". Similes, like "feathers are shiny as a rained-on roof"," Plump (Miss Hen) as a Sunday purse" and "as fast as a mosquito buzzing and quick as a fleabite."

The artist paints in warm colors and utilizes collage to capture the facial expressions, posture and lively action splendidly. The presentation is eye catching: One double spread has the girl closing one eye and peeking at Miss Hen; around her swirls things she is thinking about: eggs, corn bread and a slimy worm, so the chickens can not figure out her real intention is to chase them. A cautious Miss Hen closes one eye and cocks her head so she can peer back at the girl.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Falcon Girl on March 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was honored to serve on the Cybils Awards judging committee for Fiction Picture Books. It was truly an honor to give this book our top prize. The prose is both musical and evocative, as told in the first person voice of the little girl, chicken chasing queen herself.

And the art is a perfect match for the exuberance of the poetic text.

Here is our blurb for the awards:

"Mama says "NO," but this farm girl seems determined to keep right on chasing chickens, especially poor Miss Hen, the one chicken that always gets away. This lively story is told in the first-person voice of our full-of-the-devil young lady, using language that sings with the vernacular and cadence of true country storytelling. The illustrations are a perfect match in spirit, and they move the tale along with equal verve, using the rich texture of collage, skilled brush strokes, celebratory colors and charming whimsy. Best of all, we learn that even the wildest hearts are capable of warmth and growth. "
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. J. Neal on May 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Stunning! Lyrically, visually, culturally rich. So much fun to read aloud and with amazing collage-like images that are compelling for all ages - my 16 month old and i were spellbound. I hope that the author and illustrator team up again. We bought it as a gift for a 2 year old who is loving it and now must add it to our library. (i'm sure it is intended for an older audience but i think it is one of those classics that transcends age) The main character is mischievous and strong-willed but learns a valuable lesson in the end in a way that is believable and not at all preachy. Fun fun fun!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ulyyf on June 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this book.

I love the metaphorical language. I love the active, semi-collage artwork. I love the onomatopoeia. Truthfully, I think any library would be improved by having this book in their collection.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
love it. quickly became our daughters' favorite nighttime book. The story is great, as is the language and style. The pictures are fun and have a lot to talk about. I memorized the first 3 pages which sound just like a poem.
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By M. Heiss on October 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This book is a riot of action and a marvel of illustration.

It's *not* told in free verse -- a huge plus in these days when so many authors choose that route.

The sound effects are fun and funny:

Chickens say "pruck, pruck"
Miss Hen says "pah-QUAWKKKKK!"

Tons of triple-repeats for emphasis and fun story-telling.

This is a very enjoyable book. Adorable illustrations. More books like this, please.
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