No group of people on earth enjoy a sequel as much as kids. Sometimes it seems like if you slap a “2” at the end of a book or movie, youngsters take that to mean “times 2”. Twice as cool, twice as funny, twice as good. Kids go into a part deux boldly: familiar with the content and hopeful for the best. Adults, on the other hand, can be fearful of sequels, afraid that it may not live up to the original. I’m guilty of this as well. Heck, I’ve even been scared to listen to side B of an album, thinking that it was going to be a letdown. A sad thing indeed. So when I saw that there was a new “Big Chickens” book hitting the shelves, I tried to prepare myself like a kid, and not as an adult. The result? Good feelings and a discovery that I should look on the bright side more often.
Similar to it’s predecessor, “Big Chickens”, “Big Chickens Fly the Coop” is about overcoming fears. Last time out, the chickens were forced into their situation by a wolf who scared them out of their coop. This time, perhaps feeling a bit more brave, the chickens choose to go out on a limb. They want to see the farmhouse. Problem is, they don’t exactly know what the farmhouse looks like. They know it has a roof, they know it has a chimney, they know it has windows, but that’s about it. Each time out, they confuse the farmhouse with something else and end up getting scared back to the coop. The chickens are determined to best their anxiety, however, and head out for one last attempt at the promised land.
Henry Cole’s vivid illustrations fit well with the comedic tone, completing the requirements for a solid read-aloud. Rumor has it that there’s a third “Big Chickens” on the way. I’ll be looking forward to it, just like my students.