Adapted by Oakley Graham (text), Kimberley Barnes (illus.), Chicken Little, Big Sky Publishing, 1 June 2017, 32pp., $14.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781925520026
Adapted from the classic story, Chicken Little takes us on a rollicking adventure to visit the king, meeting some new bustling, inquisitive characters along the way. When an acorn hits Chicken Little on the head, he immediately believes the sky is falling down. Greeting a cumulative menagerie of feathered friends with rhyming names, some including Henny Penny, Cocky Locky, Ducky Lucky and Turkey Lurkey, each warns the next about the imminent danger of falling sky and their intention to tell the king. But thank goodness for the King’s barking dogs who ultimately save the birds from the evil clutches of the ravenous Foxy Loxy! A final small blow to their heads, by a downpour of acorns nonetheless, knocks some sense into the characters with a revelation to not be so gullible.
A story like this, in today’s society with the internet producing often misguided or misleading material, is important to help children understand the importance of developing proficiency in determining differences between reputable sources and the riffraff. It aims to promote awareness of intuition, reasoning and judgement – valuable skills in academia and in life. There are also opportunities to discuss language structures and play games for reinforcing short term memory, as well as studying farm and water bird species and the science of gravity.
With jovial and energetic illustrations, Chicken Little is a fun, repeating tale that clearly reinforces its strong message to preschoolers about ‘thinking for yourself’.
Reviewed by Romi Sharp