Little Chicken Chickabee
Raising Literacy Australia, 2016
32pp., pbk., RRP $A14.90
Crickle, scratch, crackle, hatch – four little chicks pop from their eggs of proud Mother Hen. Each one cheeps as expected except for Number 4 who says, “Chickabee.” This startles Mother Hen and the other chicks who insist that “Cheep” is right and “Chickabee” is not. But Little Chicken is not deterred and goes off to see the world. However, she finds that even the other farm animals insist that chickens say “Cheep” not “Chickabee” although when Little Chicken challenges them, they have no real reason why not.
Showing amazing resilience, Little Chicken knows that while “Chickabee” might be different, it is right for her and regardless of the sound she makes, she is still a chicken. Even when her brothers and sisters reject her again, she has the courage to go back into the world and this time she meets different things that make different sounds which bring her joy, And then she meets a pig…
This is a charming story about difference, resilience, courage and perseverance and how these can lead to friendships, even unexpected ones. Beautifully illustrated by Danny Snell, this story works on so many levels. It would be a great read for classes early in this 2017 school year as new groups of children come together and learn about each other while even younger ones will enjoy joining in with the fabulous noises like rankety tankety, sticketty-stackety and flippety-flappity as they learn the sorts of things that are found on a farm.
Given the trend throughout the world towards convention and conservatism and an expectation that everyone will fit the same mould and be legislated or bullied into doing so, Little Chicken could be a role model for little people that it is OK to be different and that no one is alone in their difference.