blue chicken

Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman

This vibrant picture book plays with color and perspective as well as characters who leave the flat page and enter the real world.  The picture is almost finished when one of the chickens in the picture pops her head out.  She then stands up and walks over to the paint pots that are waiting to finish the picture.  When the chicken peeks into the blue paint, she accidentally tips it over and ends up painting herself.  She is joined by a little duckling and then more who splash around in the new blue puddle, turning themselves and the cat who walked past blue.  Soon all of the animals are blue.  Now what can be done to turn them all back to normal?

There is a wonderful playfulness about this title.  Even the grumpy animals end up enjoying the escapade.  At the same time, there are lots of options to discuss colors, perspective, and art.  The book has real depth to it, allowing it to be read just as a cute story, or used more seriously with children. 

The words are simple and try to stay out of the way, allowing the art to really shine here.  And shine it certainly does.  It dazzles and glows, inviting young readers into the humor of the book and revealing a magical quality that is lovely.  From the freshness of the first spill of the blue to the sogginess and flatness that results, there is an exploration of the media here right on the page. 

Highly recommended, this is one of my favorite picture books of the year.  It is a charming jewel of a picture book that is fun, silly, yet offers plenty to learn.  Appropriate for ages 3-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Viking Books.

Also reviewed by Fuse #8.