A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Story structure and the element of surprise. Classic tales "The Ugly Duckling," "Rapunzel," "The Little Mermaid." The characters model reading and making up stories and illustrating them.
Implicit message that reading's fun and enjoyable. You can play with stories and add new elements. You can make up your own stories. Parents and kids can talk about what’s happened in school in order to support and process it.
Positive Role Models
Papa is happy to read to Chicken. He's patient, and explains what she doesn't understand. Chicken is exuberant and excited about reading, stories, and what she's learned in school. She's inventive, creative, playful. The two have a loving relationship.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise, by David Ezra Stein, is a sequel to his very funny and wildly popular Caldecott Honor book, Interrupting Chicken. It brings back Papa and Chicken, who again read stories together. But this time, the exuberant and irrepressible Chicken is determined to find the "elephant of surprise" in every story, and when there isn't one -- surprise! -- she inserts one, providing parents and kids the opportunity to revisit classic tales while having lots of storytime fun.
Is It Any Good?
This fun story promotes reading, references classic tales, and depicts a loving dad and daughter, while featuring an exuberantly creative chicken and a silly blue elephant -- what's not to like? Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise is a sequel that's every bit as fun as its original. Kids will love revisiting the familiar classic tales, then seeing how Chicken upends each one by inserting an elephant at a critical juncture. And of course, in each, her elephant of surprise is the element of surprise.
David Ezra Stein's art is detailed and colorful, underscoring the warm family relationship. The happy, book-lined home is complete with comfy reading chair and bright, bloomy upholstery roses. The pages on which Papa reads snippets of fairy tales are muted and affect a classic look. By contrast, the elephant who interrupts those stories is bright blue, and dressed in hilarious costumes. (Gotta love the coconut shells that riff on the the Little Mermaid's seashells.) Readers will be charmed and swept along by Chicken's spirited story doctoring, just as Papa is.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.