Prairie Chicken Little by Jackie Mims Hopkins, illustrated by Henry Cole
One day out on the grasslands, Mary McBlicken the prairie chicken heard a deep rumbling. She ran off to tell Cowboy Stan and Red Dog Dan that a stampede was coming! That is the set up for this prairie version of Chicken Little. The prairie chicken soon has a prairie dog, jack rabbit, and meadowlark running with her to report the oncoming stampede. Then they meet the coyote, Slim, who offers to show them a shortcut. The friends realize what is happening before they enter the coyote’s cave and attack, drawing the attention of Cowboy Stan and Red Dog Dan who come to their rescue. In the end, the source of the rumbling is not a stampede of course!
Hopkins has written this book to be read aloud. The entire book has a rhythm to it that works very well, quickly setting a playful but fast pace for the story. Readers will not need to have read Chicken Little to enjoy this new version, but children who know both versions will enjoy this one immensely too. Hopkins also uses rhyming names that take the place of rhyming lines. This is combined with nice rhyming repetition in some of the text, making this a treat to share aloud.
Cole’s illustrations are playful and filled with action. The animals are all cartoony and friendly, even the sly coyote is more sly than fearful. Thanks to his bright colors and large format, the illustrations will work well with a group of children.
Energetic and funny, this book is a good one to share with children learning about habitats as well as those looking for a good giggle. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy received from Peachtree Publishers.