Booklist Reviews : Booklist Reviews 2011 November #1 *Starred Review* How much mischief can one two-dimensional chicken cause? Plenty, as this exuberant picture book shows. A calm, quiet morning, perfect for painting, becomes awash with blue when a chicken steps out of the storyboard and onto an artist's desk. Instead of painting the barn, as shemeant to do, the chicken accidentally tips over a jar of paint. The ducks don't seem to mind, but the other animals take umbrage as they are all washed in indigo. In a scene reminiscent of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," the blue looks set to completely swamp the book, until the chicken is able to counter the mess and restore calmâand the correct colorsâto all involved. The idea of characters stepping out of picture books has been the successful theme of numerous titles, including Peter Catalanotto's Ivan the Terrier (2007) and David Wiesner's Caldecott Medal winner, The Three Pigs (2001), but this title offers a fresh approach. The spare, poetic text allows the images to shine, and Freedman extends the story beyond the credits, starting and finishing on the end pages. Like the chicken stepping out of the storyboard, this delightful treat emphasizes the joy of breaking free of conventional boundaries and turning accidents into art. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.
Publishers Weekly Reviews : PW Reviews 2011 August #3
Freedman's (Scribble) second outing recalls some of David Wiesner's work, opening with a painting of a painting: an unfinished picture of a barnyard lies on an illustrator's desk, three-dimensional tools and pots of ink scattered across its flat surface. Within the painting, chickens sleep in the coop until one plucky hen emerges from the picture plane, knocking over a pot of blue ink and flooding the barnyard. The rest of the animals, roused over several spreads into three-dimensional existence, glare at the chicken. "Maybe the chicken can undo the blue?" She spills a jar of clean water across the page, whichâin a tour de force of painterly controlâwashes the blue away, "Except for the sky. The sky should stay blue on a morning so clear." Because Freedman's main interest is in the tension between the two- and three-dimensional spaces, there's not much time to develop the animals as characters. But she works through the technical problems thoughtfully and skillfully, allowing children to both decipher the action and ponder its implications. Ages 3â5. (Sept.)
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School Library Journal Reviews : SLJ Reviews 2011 September
PreS-Gr 2âBlue Chicken wasn't always blue. When she was created in an artist's studio, she was a bright white, as she should be. But then she decides that she wants to help finish the picture by painting the barn. She climbs right out of the painting and onto the edge of a paint container. Shockingly, it topples over, splashing blue paint all over her and onto the other animals. She is sorry, so sorry and she tries to undo the mishap. She intentionally tips over the rinse water and is relieved to watch as it washes away the blue. The animals are happy to be returned to their original state while the errant color creates a perfect wash of blue in the sky. In a surprise ending, readers find the little chicken a bright shade of red from another botched attempt, this time to help the artist who is painting an actual barn outside the studio. The chicken is childlike in its strong desire to help and often be responsible for dire consequences. Full of surprise and emotion, the story is very clever, and children will love the idea of a subject popping out of a painting and creating such mischief. Freedman's artwork features sharp pen-and-ink watercolor drawings and an expert use of perspective. The blue splash created by the chicken is an exciting contrast to the realistic style of the artist's rendering. The book has much to pore over on every page, and children will want to experience the action over and over again.âDiane Antezzo, Ridgefield Library, CT
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