Chickerella Paperback – Mar 1 2006
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From School Library Journal
Grade 1-3–"Chickerella had a wonderful chickhood until one night when a fox got into the coop and carried off her mother." Thus begins a new fractured fairy tale in which Chickerella lays glass eggs and everyone wants to go to the prince's Fowl Ball. Though Chickerella has no interest in getting married and only wants to see the fancy gowns, her stepmother will not allow her to go. To the rescue comes the Fairy Goosemother, who has a penchant for fashion design and gives good pragmatic advice such as, "Don't wait for someone else to fix things, dearie. You take charge." Unfortunately, the showy artwork tends to overwhelm the punchy story line. Handmade chicken mannequins with heads of polymer clay were dressed, adorned, and positioned on sets made from found objects and photographed. The artist then used a computer to generate scale and special effects. While full of clever details, such as Chickerella's bright orange "Chickenstock" sandals, the photographs are quite jarring. Still, this is a pun-filled story for libraries in which fractured fairy tales are popular, and the ending will satisfy children who like "eggstravaganzas."–Julie Roach, Watertown Free Public Library, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Mary Jane Auch lvoes any kind of art or craft. She made the characters in Chickerella out of Sculpey, feathers, and crocheted specialty yarns. She also designed and sewed their amazing high fashion ensembles herself using chicken mannequins.
Herm Auch has collaborated on illustrating three picture books and three chapter books with his wife, Mary Jane. He is the computer and photography specialist in the duo. He also made some of the furniture in the book. He is a retired graphic artist who devoted years to the Gannett Rochester newspaper.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Speaking of chicken puns, this book is fowl of them. Some are amusing but formulaic (Extravanganza becomes "eggstravaganza," Exasperating becomes "eggasperating," and there's also "eggscited," "eggsquisite," and "eggsactly"), but others evince show a clever and mischievous mind: Chickerella's not so nice stepsisters are named "Ovumelda" and "Cholestera," and the stepmother, who looks like a washed-up B-movie actor with a taste for gaudy leopard skin jumpers, ostentatious jewl-encrusted glasses, and gelled-out stringy black hair, seems like a bad egg from the start: "'Such a sweet girl,' said the step mother with a smile that gave Chickerella hen bumps."
The fairy goosemother arrives in the nick of time, a bird that I had mixed feelings about. Her Brooklynesque accent and pop psychology bit ("Don't wait for someone else to fix things, dearie. You take charge.") seemed just a bit contrived, but the goose as fairy is a wonderful incongruity, and get has some of the funniest lines ("I don't do transportation, dearie," she says, when Chickerella remembers that a coach will be waiting for her.) The Fowl Ball (nice for the baseball fan!) has all the trappings of a high school prom, with overdressed chickens, am obligatory blue-lit dance floor with a rotating crystal hung from the ceiling, and a vie piece band, "Penny Pullet abd the ROck Island Reds. Finally, there's a happy updated entrepreneurial conclusion, as the Prince not only matches the lost crystal egg with Chickerella, but discovers they have a common interest: Fashion--not matrimoney!
Toddlers and young grade-schoolers will like the wacky retelling of the familiar story, the irrepresible punning, and the wildly imaginative costumes. A more 3-dimensional look might have reduced the visual complexity for young toddlers, but the basic story is familiar enough that They won't get lost either. Although some of the "wow" factor seems aimed towards adults, one particularlyr nice touch shows that the Auchs were thinking of their audience. A potentially disturbing opening, "Chickerella had a wonderful childhood until one night when a fox got carried into the coop and carried off her mother," is written beneath a comforting picture of Chickerella's father reading to her. Still, this is another reason I would recommend Chickerella to somewhat older little kids, or at least those who have can comprehend the fantasy underpinning, the stylized fowl, and the eggstra dose of barnyard punnery.