The leaves are turning, so this week I’m celebrating art and color. Today’s color: blue. As in … Blue Chicken by Deborah Freedman (Viking, 2011)
There is so much to love about this book – from the visual jokes (a red wheelbarrow, white chickens) to the minimalist text to the “oops!” of things-gone-wrong-while-trying-to-help. Imagine: a nearly finished drawing left on the artist’s table. It’s a pastoral scene – a barn with a cow and cat, a coop with chickens resting inside and, resting in front, the infamous wheelbarrow.
Also on the table: two pots of paint, one red, one blue, and a jar with water and two brushes.
The book begins, “ “At Last! This picture is almost finished. The chickens are white, their coop is brown… and this day is perfect for painting the barn.” And who should want to help, but one of the chickens. She tips over the blue paint pot and turns everything blue – except those odd green patches on the ducklings (yellow + blue).
Chicken tries to undo the blue by adding water, but the entire jar spills and everything is a wash. Everything gets cleaned up except for the sky which, the animals agree, should stay blue. So there we are, a beautiful blue sky day “that is perfect for painting the barn.”
But where is that white chicken? She's not back in the coop. No, she's lurking behind the pot of red paint with one of the ducklings. Nothing to see here.... just turn the page. When you do, you find some very wet & tired red ducklings – and one red chicken – looking out the window at a newly painted barn. Red, of course.
This is a fun fantasy about characters that won’t stay on their page, and colors that won't stay inside the lines. But watch out! Reading this book might result in kids grabbing paints and brushes, and then who knows what chaos will ensue..
Review copy from library.