Interrupting Chicken, (or “The Silly Chicken Book” as my daughter affectionately calls it) by David Ezra Stein is a bedtime favorite in our home. A 2011 Caldecott Honor Book, Interrupting Chicken was praised for its “exuberant artwork” that “shifts media and style” (American Library Association) as the reader follows the little red chicken and her papa as they read bedtime stories together.
The little red chicken (who I’m convinced grew up to be one of the creators of the Youtube series, How it Should Have Ended) interrupts each story, rewriting them all to have a more common-sense ending, much to the annoyance of her exhausted papa.
An entertaining read for both parent and child, the Interrupting Chicken manages to do the near impossible – successfully tell a funny bedtime story.
What I love!
It’s about a little red chicken and her dad reading stories. I’m a huge proponent of reading aloud with your children and love to see positive examples of it in any form of media. Maybe it’s because I have a little girl (and a second one on the way!) but I love seeing positive daddy-daughter examples in literature, too. I like that my daughter can relate to the little red chicken and make connections to her own life. “Her papa put her to sleep, like my daddy put me to sleep!” she’ll tell me. We also enjoy that in the end, the papa falls asleep before the little red chicken as she shakes her head, tells him goodnight and snuggles up next to him in bed (which may or may not happen occasionally in our home as well).
The little red chicken has good critical thinking skills. The little red chicken doesn’t just sit there and lap up her bedtime stories. She thinks critically about the storylines, puts herself into each one and pivots the characters away from the conflict of each story, personally solving their problems before they begin. For example, while reading the classic Chicken Little together with her papa the little red chicken interrupts with,
“Out jumped a little red chicken, and she said ‘Don’t panic! It was just an acorn! So Chicken Little didn’t. The end!”
When her papa scolds her for interrupting yet another story she replies,
“Oh, Papa, I couldn’t let that little chicken get all upset over an acorn!”
With each story she has a common sense answer to prevent all of the characters’ problems and personally takes action to circumvent their mistakes.
The little red chicken is an imaginative storyteller and artist. Not only does the little red chicken recognize and fix the mistakes of each story’s characters, she’s also imaginative enough to put herself directly into the story as a new character. In the end, when her papa has exhausted all of their bedtime stories he tells the little red chicken to tell him a story instead. Excited, the little red chicken is more than prepared to launch into her own story about a papa who wouldn’t go to bed – complete with her own illustrations. As the daughter of a writer myself, I’m always happy to see another budding storyteller in the making.
The shifts in style and artwork throughout the book. As the papa reads each story the illustrations shift from the little red chicken’s bedroom to the pages of the classic stories themselves. With each interruption from the little red chicken, the illustrations show the little red chicken in the midst of the characters with speech bubbles and a childish handwriting font covering the original text of the story. In the end, as the little red chicken tells her own story we’re taken into her personal notebook – lined paper, crayon drawings and all. The changes in style make for a fun, immersive feel, kind of like another favorite of ours, Nibbles by Emma Yarlett.
What I don’t like about it
What kind of family only has three books to read for bedtime? Okay, okay, so I recognize I’m nitpicking here but it does bug me just a teeny tiny bit each time I read it that the little red chicken only has three bedtime stories to read. I don’t know what kind of resources your average chicken family has but surely, if they have any books at all they must at least have access to a library.
No wonder the little red chicken’s taken to rewriting her bedtime stories.
She must be so bored with them!
At this point my two-and-a-half year old mostly just likes to quote her favorite parts of the story along with me as I read.
Do you have a child who loves to interrupt bedtime stories with their own plot twists?
Pick up a copy using this link, and we make pennies!