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Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken Hardcover – September 23, 2008
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She longed for adventure.
So she left her home and ventured out into the wide world.
The pleasures and perils she met proved plentiful: marauding pirates on the majestic seas, a ferocious lion under the bright lights of the big top, a mysterious stranger in an exotic and bustling bazaar.
Yet in the face of such daunting danger, our heroine . . .
She was brave.
She was fearless.
She was feathered.
She was a chicken.
A not-so-chicken chicken.
A Look Inside Louise: The Adventures of a Chicken (Click on Images to Enlarge)
|Louise Meets Some Pirates||Louise Meets a Fortune Teller|
Questions for Kate DiCamillo
Amazon.com: Tell us about Louise--how is she so brave? What do you do when you’re feeling a little bit chicken?
Kate Dicamillo: When I think of Louise, the words that come to mind are insouciant and unflappable. I suppose that when all is said and done, she is brave. But she's also kind of, um, *clueless.* As for me, when I am feeling afraid, I squawk and flap my wings and run around in circles and then I go ahead and try to do the thing that I'm pretty sure I can't do.
Amazon.com: I know pirates don't keep very good records, but have you found any historical evidence of chickens adventuring with pirates?
Dicamillo: Yes, it's true, pirates don't keep great records. But there are several diaries of chickens that have survived through the ages and they paint a quite colorful (and detailed (and sometimes horrifiying)) picture of the many adventures that chickens have had with pirates. I refererred to these diaries when I was doing my research. They were written in chicken scratch; it was slow going.
Amazon.com: If Louise, Despereaux, and Mercy Watson went on an adventure together, what do you think would happen?
Dicamillo: Wow, there's a picture . . . let's see. I can envision Louise standing on Mercy's back and Despereaux perched on Louise's head. *Anything* could happen, I suppose. And would. But I'm sure that whatever happened, it would involve toast, hot air balloons, cluelessness and Despereaux ultimately saving the day.
Amazon.com: This is your first collaboration with Harry Bliss. Did you have his style in mind when you wrote the story, or did you join up with him afterward?
Dicamillo: When I wrote Louise, I didn't have a particular illustrator in mind. But the chicken (the whole world!) that Harry has brought to life in this book has delighted and humbled me. He's a genius.
Amazon.com: You've written award-winning books for kids of every age. Do you tell a different kind of story for each age, or do you think all kids find the same elements appealing?
Dicamillo: I don't think about what age the story is for or who or why. I just try to tell a story that makes me happy, one that makes me laugh, or cry; I try to tell a story that makes me glad to be here.
Kate DiCamillo is the acclaimed author of many books for young readers, including The Tale of Despereaux, winner of the Newbery Medal; Because of Winn-Dixie, a Newbery Honor Book; and The Tiger Rising, a National Book Award finalist. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
From School Library Journal
Starred Review. PreSchool-Grade 2—A picture book in four chapters in which a thrill-seeking chicken repeatedly leaves the warm security of her henhouse seeking excitement. She is captured by hungry pirates, survives a sinking ship, joins the circus, narrowly escapes a lion, is caged with other chickens, picks the lock with her beak, and liberates her fellow captives. Back home in her barnyard, Louise enthralls her sister chickens with the story of her grand exploits, until all fall asleep tucked safely in their henhouse, having felt the vicarious frisson of adventure. In the nicely patterned telling, DiCamillo ends each of Louise's escapades with an old hen asking her where she has been. "Oh, here and there," is Louise's casual answer. Each new chapter begins with the bold brooder still eager to embark anew. Bliss's illustrations depict the settings of Louise's capers in vague antique worlds with various backdrops and in various eras. On every spread, Louise's bright white feathers and brilliant red cockscomb will stand out and draw the eyes of young readers. Smart choices in book design allow for an oversize book that suits its larger-than-life heroine, and vertical spreads that capture Louise's circus high-wire walk to maximum visual effect. This is a jolly metaphor for the stages of childhood in which young children long for short-lived independence and exploration always within the reassuring bounds of a secure home and family.—Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Old Greenwich, CT
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Top customer reviews
My 9 year old (she loves chickens) was like "What the heck? Why does she keep getting excited when she is so close to dying?" So her view of Louise is that she is just one extremely crazy @ss chicken.
The book doesnt have too many pages within the four chapters. Out of approximately 45 pages, 12 of those are illustrations only or just portions of the story that are just one sentence long. You can breeze through the book fairly fast. My daughter and I took turns reading the pages.
This was bought with an 18" plush chicken that looked exactly like Louise only that chicken is called Henrietta the Hen. If you have a chicken lover child like I do, I would recommend giving the book AND plush chicken. They compliment each other well.
All in all we enjoyed the book.
A wonderful pairing of author and illustrator, this book is simply delightful, imaginative, funny, silly, and, of course, adventurous!
I particularly enjoyed what I perceived as reverences to some great novels and movies at the end as Louise is helped home by a Humphrey Bogart look-a-like in a boat (African Queen?), a Lawrence of Arabia-ish character on a camel and in a hot air balloon as in the Jules Verne classic, Around the World in 80 Days. Fun for young and old!
PS The last chapter is set in a far away land that is mysterious but by no means racist as one reviewer seemed to think. It mentions no beliefs or race or country at all but is set in a market or bazaar and Louise is mistaken for an escaped hen by a "tall, dark stranger". Should the bazaar have been set in a modern mega-mall? I don't think so. If there are descendants of old-style pirates around (1st chapter) should they protest their ancestors being portrayed as brutes? Again, I don't think so.
Modern society has already taken too much fun out of childhood. We should applaud an author who tries to inject a little pure joy and giggling back in.