Now I know what you are going to say: Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein did not win an award! But, it did receive an honorary medal from the Caldecott committee and I believe that qualifies this wonderful book as a winner! I first encountered Interrupting Chicken during a read aloud, and I think that that is the best way to experience this book. It is so colloquial and humorous that hearing it read aloud is almost essential to bringing the book to life.
Interrupting Chicken tells the story of Little Chicken and her Papa as they read a bedtime story. Throughout the book, Little Chicken struggles to keep quiet while listening to her bedtime story because she consistently wants to change the ending. Little Chicken interrupts time and time again, jumping into the stories to save their characters from harm. She bounces into Hansel and Grettel to save them from the witch, she warns Little Red Riding Hood about the wolf, and more! Little Chicken just can’t help herself. Her reactions to the stories-within-a-story and her Papa’s comments are priceless and undoubtedly relatable to readers both young and old. Every reader will find themselves shouting along with Little Chicken, interrupting their own bedtime story!
The illustrations in Interrupting Chicken are bright, dream-like, and have a great balance between text and image. The texture Stein incorporates into his illustrations creates a cozy bedroom that draws in its readers. I could almost feel myself being sucked into the cozy covers and warm lighting of the chickens’ pre-bedtime ritual. Additionally, the exclamatory phrases Stein uses sparsely are utterly captivating–they practically jump from the page! I was never lacking in wonderful pictures to study while I listened to the story.
At the very end of the book, Papa Chicken has a wonderful idea: why doesn’t little chick tell her own story? That way she can’t interrupt! What happens next is the punchline of the entire book, and I won’t spoil it here! Go read Interrupting Chicken! While it may not have won the official Caldecott medal, it is still a highly-recommended read!