Title: The Plot Chickens
Author: Mary Jane and Herm Auch
Publisher: Holiday House
The Plot Chickens details the story of Henrietta, a chicken who loves to read. After she has read all there is to read at the local library, Henrietta decides to try her hand at writing her own book. With the help of her aunts, Henrietta begins her journey to discover what makes a good story. She makes her way through the writing process, and is very proud of her final product. However, when she tries to get her writing published, she is met with only scathing reviews. One reviewer even called her work, “odoriferous” (The Plot Chickens, 2009, p.25). Henrietta doesn’t let this get her down, and she decides that she will publish her own books instead. In the end, no publisher finds any value in Henrietta’s writing, but it becomes a favorite of the kids who frequent the local library. The librarian asks Henrietta to read her story aloud to the children, and she learns that her story was just waiting for the right audience.
Holy cow, I loved it! This story is hilarious, and clever, while also teaching students how to follow the writing process. The characters were very well written. What especially did it for me was the speech bubbles that give the reader insight into what each of the chickens is adding to the story. Aunt Golda’s input is the best. On every page, she tries to end the story prematurely by saying something like, “Then he eats her. The end. Good story.” Aunt Golda reminds me so much of many of my students writing our writing block, who just want to get done with their writing. I can’t wait to read this to my class so that I can remind them, don’t be like Aunt Golda! I also love use of colorful vocabulary in this story. The authors do not dumb down the writing in the least, and this allows for much more interesting sentence structure, and for great teaching opportunities. Finally, The illustrations in this book are excellent. They are colorful, and do an excellent job of showing character moods and motivation through body language. Overall, this is an excellent book to read just to enjoy, or to read as a class to gain some insight into the writing process. I recommend it to readers of all ages, and for use in the classroom for elementary grades.
For use in the Library:
This title would make a great read to inspire writers. Read it to the students, and then ask them to pair up to write a story using the tips that Henrietta gives throughout the story. Remind your students, Don’t be like Aunt Golda! Take you time to develop your story. After the students are finished writing, allow them to share what they wrote. If possible, allow them to act out another group’s stories.
From School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. –This text refers to the School & Library Binding edition.
Bates, I. (2009). [Review of the book The plot chickens, by M. J. & H. Auch]. School Library Journal, 55(3), 105-106. Retrieved from: https://libproxy.library.unt.edu:9443/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=36844906&scope=site