Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Louise, the adventures of a chicken by Kate DiCamillo illustrated by Harry Bliss

This book, Louise, the adventures of a chicken,  has all the right ingredients for a terrific picture book. Chickens!  A brilliant author! and glorious illustrations.

On the title page we see Louise looking out to the horizon early on morning.  Later that same day perhaps, on the next page, Louise gives the farmer's wife a sideways glance as she takes her first steps away from the farm.  There are four chapters which describe Louise's adventures.   The first is an adventure with pirates who argue over the best way to cook her!  Luckily there is a ship wreck and luckily Louise is washed up on the right shore and she is able to hop back to the farm.

"She tucked her beck beneath her wing.  She closed her eyes; and there safe in the warm henhouse, Louise slept the deep and dreamless sleep of the true adventurer."

One adventure, however, does not satisfy Louise and so in Chapter two she sets off again to join the circus. Here she performs on the hire wire carrying a pink umbrella but after a few performances this becomes 'mundane'.  Then the lion gets loose and excitement builds.  Louise narrowly escapes from the jaws of the hungry lion but all of this is a little too much for Louise and she she bids the circus adieu.

Back home she "closed her eyes; and there safe and warm in the henhouse,  Louise slept the deep and peaceful sleep of the true adventurer."  Of course this is not the end. Chapter Three sees Louise setting off on another adventure.

This book is a joy to read.  It has two simple messages - the grass is perhaps greener on the other side of the fence or is it? Contrasted with there's no place like home.  Here is a set of teaching notes.  Also you might like to read an interview with Kate about this book.  Here is a little video extract.

If you enjoy Louise, the adventures of a chicken you should also look for Daisy by Brian Wildsmith and Queenie the Bantam by Bob Graham.  You should also take a look at Peggy which was a very popular book in our school library last year.

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