David Ezra Stein's Interrupting Chicken
Children's book review by Steve Barancik
A bedtime story about reading bedtime stories
It's bedtime for a certain little red chicken.
A pretty happy kid - I mean, chick - she's okay with going to bed, but she does expect a story. Couldn't possibly go to sleep without one.
And Papa (a rooster) certainly is ready for her to go to sleep. Summary continues below.
Dad has a few books lying around, but he knows his daughter.
"You're not going to interrupt the story tonight, are you?"
What do you think?
Papa starts with Hansel and Gretel. He's barely begun when...
Don't go in! She's a witch!
Hmm. Rooster Dad gives up on that story. So much for Little Red Riding Hood and Chicken Little (a relative?) as well. And those are all the books Dad has available.
But Chicken insists she can't go to bed without a story. Papa tells her she'll have to tell her own. And guess what?...
Little chicken's story puts Papa to sleep. And once he's drifted off, little chicken nods off right next to him.
The joy of this book is in the familiarity, humor being an outgrowth of the familiar. Children will recognize themselves, their parents, their routines and age-old parent-child rituals and dynamics.
The illustrations won author-illustrator Stein a 2011 Caldecott Honor. Bright, zany, childlike; they look like a glorious explosion of sidewalk chalk, sure to delight.
Interrupting Chicken is a bedtime book that commemorates the importance of bedtime books. For that reason alone, it's a winner.
Webmaster's note: You know, as long as we're talking about storytelling within a story, I'm gonna throw in a plug for one of my favorite movies, The Princess Bride. Based on a book of course, it features a granddad telling a spectacular story of magic, monsters and true love.
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