I have a regular who attends the St. Agnes reading aloud program, and every week, without fail, she lets me know the same little fact about herself. “I live in New York City.” Just like that. For no apparent reason and usually at the climax of a story I’m reading. It’s awesome. We’ve all had the experience of being interrupted while reading a book aloud, whether to one child or a whole group. Sometimes the interruption is just a question or comment about what’s happening, while other times, like the one I’ve described, it’s something completely out in left field.
With his own take on the matter, David Ezra Stein has created Interrupting Chicken, a Children’s Books 2010 selection. The little red chicken is almost ready for bed. She just needs Papa to share a bedtime story. Papa obliges, of course, but reminds her that tonight she won’t interrupt. Right? “Oh no, Papa. I’ll be good.” That lasts for the first few lines of Hansel and Gretel. Then, the little red chicken just can’t take it anymore and chimes in with her own happy ending. And so it continues with a couple of other classic tales, until Papa is out of stories. It is then up to the little red chicken to tell Papa a story, which provides a charming conclusion.
Interrupting Chicken is funny and relatable (to both the reader and the listener) and is cozily illustrated. Perfect for parents at bedtime or for librarians at story time. The best way to know that it’s a hit with your audience in the library? When every child at the program comes up to you at the end to ask if he or she can borrow the book. Interrupting Chicken made that happen. It’s just one of the books on this year’s list that begs to be shared again and again.