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In a Central African tale that turns the story of the Little Red Hen upside down, an affectionate chicken mother fails to build her children a better house, and one of her chicks must do it instead. "Peo-peo," the chicks cry. "We're chilly-cold." Mama Nsoso promises to build them a new house, an ilombe, but is waylaid by "crunchy-munchy, sweety-meaty, big fat worms" and a succession of other treats. Meanwhile, Little Chick gathers grass and twigs "tee-tee-tee" (the glossary explains that this term describes "action that goes on and on"), making a house that delights the chicks and makes Mama Nsoso proud. Pinkney (Sit-In) concentrates on the chunky chickens rather than the African landscape. Using brushes loaded with color, he paints them broadly, drawing Mama Nsoso and her chicks with fat, black ink lines and swashing them with intense reds, oranges, and yellows. Harrington's (Roberto Walks Home) storytelling background and careful investigation of African sources can be seen in the multitude of sound words and Lonkundo vocabulary she includes. Watching Little Chick succeed where his parent has stumbled will thrill young readers. Ages 3-6. Illustrator's agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal
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PreS-Gr 2-This story is adapted from a fable told by the Nkundo people of Central Africa, and it evokes a storytelling style through vocabulary and rhythm. Mama Nsoso's chicks complain of the cold each night, and the hen promises to build a new ilombe, a sturdy house. Each morning, however, she gets distracted by tasty treats. Undeterred, Little Chick gathers twigs, leaves, grass, and mud and constructs the ilombe himself. Mama clucks with pride, and the chick finally gets a snack. Bright paintings are loose and full of movement. A curly font highlights the text when the chickens find food. The informal pictures work well with the intimate feel of the text. Children will applaud the success of Little Chick and his mother's pride in him. A good addition to units on fables, farm animals, or African culture, and an enjoyable story in general.-Heidi Estrin, Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
In this retelling of a central African folktale, Mama Nsoso's baby chicks complain that they are cold and damp in their nest every night. Mama assures them that they'll get to work building a more sturdy ilombe, but when the new day dawns, the whole family is distracted by the wandering meals of worms and crickets. The whole family, that is, except Little Chick, who collects crucial materials and eventually provides the distractible family with the building blocks they need to build a warm home. The repetitive narrative will appeal to younger children, who like to see what's coming and will appreciate that the youngest character is the hero. Pinkney provides impressionistic swirls of color that bleed out of the figures of Mama Nsoso and her baby chicks, washing into backgrounds and giving a toasty warmth, as well as a mystical timelessness, to the story that will invite kids to browse through it independently. Mellifluous African words (defined in a short glossary) further perk up the telling, and an author's note fills in source information.--Karp, Jesse Copyright 2010 Booklist