Monday, May 23, 2011

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road? (2006)

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road? [Hardcover]In this unique volume from Dial Press, fourteen all-star illustrators offer delightful visual answers to an age-old question.  The collection showcases "signature style" pieces by such heavy hitters as Mo Willems (Knuffle Bunny), David Shannon (No, David!), Jerry Pinkney (The Lion and the Mouse), Tedd Arnold (Fly Guy), Mary Grandpre (Harry Potter), and others.  But what is most remarkable about it are the broad range---in terms of subject, tone, and medium---and the sheer inventiveness of the artists' responses to the World's Most Cliched Prompt.

Willems, for example, brings in his trademark Pigeon for a police interrogation, while Harry Bliss draws on a cast of mutated zombie chickens (who seem poised to begin the "Thriller" dance).  David Shannon imagines a cartoonish chicken chauffeuring around sundry other barnyard animals, while Jerry Pinkey's delicate and more realistic watercolor animals spread a tablecloth on the ground for a tea party.   Yet while all of the illustrations strike different notes, humor and whimsy dominate.  There are many pages that make my daughter laugh out loud---and without stopping---even though she is a little too young to fully appreciate the book's premise.  Moreover, many of the images are incredibly detailed, and some include rather sophisticated visual puns and allusions that appeal to adults without excluding or alienating children.

Miss E's Read:  This book was in heavy rotation in our house for several weeks.  She thinks it's hysterical.  Marla Frazee's contribution is one of her favorites, as is Bliss's zombie page.   Judy Schahner's (Skippyjon Jones) free-range/de-ranged chicken also makes her fall out of her seat.

No comments:

Post a Comment