Chicken Soup Book Poster Image

Chicken Soup

Cute book, but may be too intense for some preschoolers.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Raises questions about where meat comes from; Little Chicke's fellow hens aren't too concerned with helping her.

Violence & scariness

Plenty of tension.

Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the book's twist ending will assuage any worries a kid might have that the adorable chick on the front of the book will end up in the pot, but there's still a lot of tension leading up to the happy ending, and it may be too unsettling for some preschoolers. Also, the book may invite conversation about why the chicken was worried about becoming soup in the first place, so be prepared for a discussion about where meat comes from.

What's the story?

The farmyard is all aflutter because Mrs. Farmer has taken out her big black pot. All the animals know what that means -- time for chicken soup! The hens all go running, but Little Chickie has a cold and she can't keep up! No matter where she hides, her sneezes and sniffles seem to give her away.

Is it any good?


CHICKEN SOUP is an adorable book, but it might not be the best choice for all kids. For families whose diets include poultry, this book might inspire some interesting conversations about where meat comes from. Also, sensitive kids might get a little too caught up in Little Chickie's dilemma, especially since the suspense builds like a horror movie for preschoolers: The Farmer gets closer and closer while Little Chickie scurries for a hiding place, abandoned by the older chickens who are more concerned about their own necks than they are for the most vulnerable among them. In short, parents who know their kids don't do well with tension might want to skip to the last page before going back to read the book.

There's not much to the pictures, which are fine but fairly indistinguishable from any number of farmyard books.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why the chicken was scared. What can you do when you're scared? They can also talk about rumors and making assumptions. How do you find out whether something is true or not?

Book details

Author:Jean Van Leeuwen
Illustrator:David Gavril
Genre:Picture Book
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Abrams Books for Young Readers
Publication date:May 1, 2009
Number of pages:40

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Kid, 11 years old July 26, 2009
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 2 year old Written bykauffman clan November 16, 2010
My duaghter is 2 1/2 years old and loves this book we ready it alot during the day. We borrowed it from the library and am thinking about buying it for her. She may not understand it but she reads along with me now because we have read it so much and it is simple for her to read too. She also likes farm animals, and makes the sound of the animals when she sees them in the book. We really like this book. :)