Playing by the book

Reviews of kids' books and the crazy, fun stuff they inspire us to do

Six Little Chicks

Posted on | April 5, 2012 | 8 Comments

Six Little Chicks by Jez Alborough is a cracking little story for this time of year.

Mother hen already has 5 little chicks but the 6th is yet to hatch. Torn between keeping an eye on her new hatchlings playing outside the coop and keeping the 6th egg warm, Mother hen is helped by the other farmyard animals, who keep an eye out for a marauding fox. Despite their best efforts, Mother Hen’s back is turned when the fox eventually arrives on the scene. Will the fox be outwitted? Will the 6th chick hatch to find his siblings live and well?

This reassuring, but nevertheless dramatic, story told in rolling rhyme oozing onomatopoeia is a really enjoyable book to read aloud. Page turns fine tune the suspense and right when we are perhaps lulled into a sense of security, the fox bounds boldly on to the scene. Delightfully, it is the baby chicks who themselves save the day, with just a little bit of support from their farmyard neighbours, thus ensuring earlier anxious moments can be savoured in later re-readings.

The gouache paintings are warm and somehow satisfyingly solid, or meaty. A strong palette of yellows, browns and oranges throughout give the book a golden glow. And even the big bad fox, (once you peep from behind the hands covering your eyes), isn’t all that threatening…

To my mind Jez Alborough is a master of telling stories that have incredible warmth and reassurance at the heart of them. Yes, the world is full of threats, but with a little bit of help from friends, things will always work out well, and you’ll always have the warmth of your mother’s arms (or wings) to return to. If you have a soft spot for Alborough’s brilliant book Hug, Six Little Chicks (which could be seen as a retelling of a very similar story) will be welcomed with open arms.

With its cheeky, cheerful chicks Jez Alborough‘s latest book is an ideal Easter-time read. Indeed, we were inspired by Six Little Chicks to make our own 3-D Easter cards featuring an egg cracking to reveal the 6th little chicky.

I made hinged boxes with an see-through lid out of cardboard and duck tape.

Crucially, the back wall of the box was hinged at the point where the plastic egg opens. A bit of hot glue was used to glue the craft egg into place, and a little bit of tape was used to create a hinged egg.

The kids painted their boxes and put some cellophane on the lids.

Inside they made a nest with shredded tissue paper. Five little chicks sat around the egg, and one more was hidden inside the egg. When the boxes were closed you could see 5 chicks and and egg, but when you opened the box, the egg “cracked” open, to reveal the 6th chick.

Whilst making our crack-open-chick-cards we listened to:

  • Ain’t Nobody Here but Us Chickens by Buck Howdy
  • My Little Chicken by Beethoven’s Wig featuring Richard Perlmutter:
  • Forget You by Camilla and the Chickens in the recent Muppets’ film.


  • Other activities which might be fun to try alongside Six Little Chicks include:

  • Colouring in these pictures created by Jez Alborough especially to go with Six Little Chicks: Chick colouring-in page, Fox colouring-in page, Hen colouring-in page.
  • Making Cascarones – eggs filled with rice or confetti to crack open on Easter Sunday. Here’s how we did this a couple of years ago.
  • Creating a fox mask – Activity Village has a simple tutorial.

  • We’ve been reading this alongside our all time favourite chicken and fox story, Rosie’s Walk, and also another favourite, Sven Nordqvist’s Findus and the Fox (here’s our review). Do you have a favourite chicken and fox picture book?

    Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher. This review, however, remains my own and honest opinion

    And yes, please do leave me a comment to enjoy, but please be patient – I’m without internet connection at the moment (this was a scheduled post) and so I won’t be able to reply for some time.

    Share and Enjoy:
    • Digg
    • del.icio.us
    • Facebook
    • StumbleUpon
    • Technorati
    • Twitter

    Comments

    8 Responses to “Six Little Chicks”

    1. se7en
      April 5th, 2012 @ 1:57 am

      Missed you guys, good to see you are back!!! Oh so love your clever 3-d cards!!! I have a hood who is mad for the Little Red Hen: http://www.se7en.org.za/2010/04/16/se7ens-little-red-hen-party
      se7en recently posted..Sunday Snippet: Se7en Make Palm Sunday Palm Leaf Crosses

    2. Rhian
      April 5th, 2012 @ 6:11 am

      Hi, The Chris Haughton print arrived yesterday. It’s fab! Thank you. :-) Rhian

    3. choxbox
      April 5th, 2012 @ 9:14 am

      Nice Zoe!

      Jez Alborough rocks! His Duck in Truck and more books with the same characters have been favourites for years in our house.

      And Rosie’s walk is my favourite too :)

    4. Books 4 Learning
      April 8th, 2012 @ 4:28 pm

      This book looks adorable! Thanks for sharing. Your activity is wonderful!
      Books 4 Learning recently posted..Middle Grade Reader: Zoe the Fearless (by Joachim Masannek)

    5. Zoe
      April 9th, 2012 @ 10:27 am

      Thanks Choxbox, Rhian and Se7en for your comments even in my absence :) Hope you’ve all been enjoying just the right amount of chocolate!
      Zoe recently posted..(7 x 7) + 1

    6. Tasha
      April 9th, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

      We loved this book too (and Rosie’s Walk as well – the illustrations are gorgeous, I’d love to have one framed in my kitchen!) I shall be bookmarking this idea for next year’s Easter makes :)
      Tasha recently posted..{reading moment of the week}

    7. Jez Alborough
      April 17th, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

      Dear Zoe,thanks for the great review , so glad you enjoyed my book. The card idea is ingenious. All the best with your selfsufficiency, would love to do the same but my garden wouldn’t permit it.

      Jez

    8. Zoe
      April 17th, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

      Hi Jez, so generous of you to comment! Thank you :-) Put yourself down on an allotment waiting list (or borrow a friend’s garden) – it’s good for the soul as well as the environment!

    Leave a Reply





    CommentLuv badge

  • Coming soon – new adventures

  • Categories