Friday, April 13, 2012

A hen for Izzy Pippik by Aubrey Davis, illustrated by Marie Lafrance

I loved the cover of this book, but it took me a little while to fall in love with the text and illustrations inside.

When Shaina finds a "magnificent hen" with "emerald green feathers...golden speckles, and a ruby red comb" her hungry family - and village - immediately think of dinner.Times are hard and a chicken will be welcome. But Shaina has done a little investigating and she knows they can't eat the chicken - she belongs to Izzy Pippik.

Days pass and the chickens multiply, but Shaina firmly insists that they wait for Izzy Pippik to return. As the flock grows, they become more and more of a nuisance...until people start hearing about the amazing flock and visiting the town. The shops in town are revitalized and the chickens have brought prosperity. When Izzy Pippik finally returns, he sees the flock and the town's new prosperity and gives the original chicken, Yevka, and her flock to the town. After a little adjustment, Shaina is delighted and the town cheers the wonderful results of her honesty.

The jacket flap says this story is based on "an ancient tale from the Babylonian Talmud and the Hadith of the Prophet Mohammed." I would have liked more information on the original story, but that's really an adult desire as most kids will just enjoy the story of the multiplying chickens and the little girl who stands out against all the adults to win her point and be rewarded for her honesty.

The pencil illustrations, colored in Photoshop, are quirky and pose the townspeople and chickens against a white backdrop. Sharp splashes of green and red dominate the illustrations; Shaina's dress and ribbon and Yevka's feathers and comb stand out against the varied hues of greens, blues and browns that make a bustling background.

Verdict: This story is lengthy for the average storytime, but would make a good read-aloud for older children, kindergarten up through second grade. If you're looking for more folktales, this would be a fun addition to the collection. Recommended.

ISBN: 9781554532438; Published March 2012 by Kids Can Press; Review copy provided by the publisher through Raab Associates

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