– Sky or Acorn? –
One day an acorn hits Chicken Little on the head. (In the illustration we see a fox using a slingshot.) Chicken Little immediately starts screeching that the sky is falling. Squirrel points out that it’s just an acorn, but Chicken Little soon has all the chickens in a tizzy crying that the sky is falling. They began dancing around the yard, flapping their wings. When Rabbit asks Squirrel what’s going on Squirrel tells Rabbit that the chickens think the sky is falling. Rabbit comments that that’s dumb (since Rabbit sees that it’s an acorn). But the chickens are now dancing every type of dance they seem to know. When Cat is told what is going on Cat comments, “You must be kidding.” But the chickens look to be having such a great time that the Cat, Squirrel, and Rabbit soon join in the dancing all the while shouting that the sky is falling. Fox, who is secretly watching from behind a tree thinks, “Look at those dodos.” *Spoiler Alert* He asks what they are dancing about and they tell him the sky is falling. Again, Fox thinks, “These loons would believe anything.” He invites them to hide safely in his den, all the while holding a chicken dinner menu behind his back. Chicken Little tells him that everyone dances when the sky is falling, then they all begin teasing him that he probably can’t dance. So we see Fox do multiple dances to prove that he is capable of dancing. When he dances under the apple tree you see a chicken leg pushing an apple off the tree. Then the next illustration shows Fox knocked out cold. All the animals wander back to the barn. Cat and Rabbit drag Fox to his den. Cat and Rabbit comment that, “This is one dumb fox.” “But that is one smart bird,” Squirrel says chewing on the acorn. Last page: “. . . even if the sky isn’t falling.” The illustration shows Chicken Little looking at the apple and in the background Rabbit, Cat, and Squirrel.
Cons: There were too many loose ends in the story. Was this “act” all planned out by the chickens and animals in advance, had it happened before and they knew about the fox and slingshot? Were the chickens clueless until the end? Two other things were of concern. Cat, Squirrel, and Rabbit joined in the dancing and chanted that the sky was falling even though they’d put the chickens down for not knowing it was an acorn and thinking the sky was falling. (Will children interpret this as being a follower because it looks like fun?) And there was a lot of “putting down” of each other in this story. While I don’t usually over think picture books, this one concerned me.
Pros: The illustrations are colorful, large, and well done.
Author/Illustrator: Mark Teague
Publisher: Orchard Books, 2015
- Approx Words: 485
- Ages: 3 – 5
- Pages: 32