“ONE LITTLE CHICKEN,” by Elka Weber, illustrated by Elisa Kleven, Tricycle Press, Aug. 9, 2011, $16.99 (ages 4 and up)
Leora’s family is poor and they all work hard to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads. When one little chicken wanders into their yard, Leora is excited by all the possibilities the chicken could offer them, but her mother is quick to remind Leora that finders is not keepers. While their family will take care of this little chicken for whoever has lost it, they will not take advantage of any of the resources it has to offer.
Leora is disappointed, but is quick to begin caring for the chicken anyway. Soon enough the chicken has produced eggs, which then produce even more chicks. With a home overrun by the hen and her brood, Leora and her father decide to trade the hen and chicks for a goat. And so their project continues, until finally a stranger returns looking for his lost chicken. He is overjoyed to find what Leora and her family have done with the one little chicken, and is thankful for the care they have taken of his property.
Adapted from a story in the Talmud, “One Little Chicken” tells a story of neighborliness and honesty. Read together, this book offers many opportunities for discussing valued qualities like hard work, kindness, diligence, and happiness amidst poverty. Likeable Leora, her quirky mother, and her kind father are all characters the reader will enjoy spending time with throughout the story. Meanwhile, Leora’s adventures with chickens and goats are beautifully illustrated with detailed and textured pictures throughout the book. Children will enjoy looking at the pictures and discovering hidden stories placed throughout the background.
An unordinary book with its own enjoyable flavor, “One Little Chicken” tells a fun and interesting story with distinctive illustrations.