My Life as a Chicken

Book review by
Dawn Friedman, Common Sense Media
My Life as a Chicken Book Poster Image
Bird's danger-dodging bio not for sensitive kids.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages
Violence & Scariness

Some scary moments for the preschool audience: chicken flies through the air, leaps from a hot-air balloon, and has run-ins with sinister animals.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this chicken has a particularly difficult life. He's constantly running from sinister animals, and he leaps from a hot-air balloon. Sensitive kids may find the lurking danger a bit too much.

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What's the story?

One chicken faces a dauntless series of setbacks on her way to farmyard paradise.

Is it any good?

It's hard to understand the target market for this nicely illustrated and action-packed picture book. The story begins with poor Pauline perched on top of a nest in a gloomy barn, forced to lay eggs; kids will recognize the familiar Styrofoam containers going by on the conveyor belt below her. Life outside the barn isn't much better since the evil-looking farmer is reading chicken pot pie recipes. It's quite a way to start a story marketed at preschoolers.

The pictures and book design are terrific, but again may be too dark for some kids. The font spills out across the page, bolstering the illustrated action and adding to the suspense. Pauline's wide-eyed horror as she runs from sinister animals, flies through the air, and leaps from her hot-air balloon is nearly unchanging; it gets exhausting.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the chicken's heroic efforts to stay positive in the face of some pretty scary situations. What was the scariest thing Pauline faced? How did she handle it? Would you be afraid of that if you were a chicken? You can also talk about this story's silly side -- that a chicken has his own biography. Can you write a biography about your family pet or a squirrel in your yard? What dangers would they face, if any? If you're a vegetarian family, you could even use this story to reinforce your reasons for not eating meat.

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