Monday, June 8, 2009


LOUISE, THE ADVENTURES OF A CHICKEN is one of Kate DiCamillo's newest picture books. Louise is a chicken who gets bored at home, and regularly sets out to see the world. In her first adventure, Louise boards a ship, which is captured by pirates. As the pirates debate whether to friccase her, stew her, or serve her with dumplings, Louise jumps overboard, battles her way through a terrible storm, and eventually makes her way home to her safe, warm chicken coop. Next, Louise joins the circus, where she is very happy walking across a tightrope with a pink umbrella. A new adventure unfolds the day a lion escapes from his cage. In her third adventure, Louise travels to a bazaar in a faraway land, where she must rescue herself, and several other chicken friends, from a locked cage. This is a delightful story, with a kooky but oh so loveable main character, and a very sweet message about home and friendship. 

Coriander is a very contrary chicken. While the other chickens are content to sit on their ruffled bottoms in their soft nests in the henhouse, Coriander sets out to see the world. She builds a nest right smack in the middle of a road, and settles in for a nice long rest. This, of course, causes a horrible traffic jam. Farmer Bucket, then Mrs. Bucket, attempt to convince Coriander to move out of the road, to no avail. Finally, little Fanny  Bucket is able to use a little reverse psychology to get Coriander to move. This is a really fun read, a kind of cumulative tale. I could also see myself spending some time talking about the interesting vocabulary- words like flippant and contrary. 

You could just enjoy these two terrific chiekn stories. You could also use them, however, to talk about character development, because both books have really strong, interesting, main characters. You could do great comparisons of Coriander and Louise (I'd probably start with Coriander, because I usually move from silly to more serious). If you wanted to add a third book to the mix, you could use the MINERVA LOUISE series by Janet Morgan Stoeke.

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