Monday, June 1, 2015

Picture Book Monday with a review of The chickens build a wall

Sometimes, when people are afraid, they do the strangest things to protect themselves, actions that make no sense to outsiders, but that they feel are justified. Today's picture book shows us how ludicrous such actions can be, and how foolish fear can make us if we are not careful.

The Chickens Build A Wall The Chickens Build A Wall
Jean-Francois Dumont
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Eerdmans, 2013, 978-0-8028-5470-4
One fall day a hedgehog visits the farmyard. None of the farm animals have seen a hedgehog before and they all come to take a look at the rather unusual looking visitor. Frightened by all the noise and stares of the animals, the hedgehog rolls up into a ball. Zita, the littlest goose, suggests that perhaps the animal is startled by all the commotion, but no one listens to her.
   Eventually the animals get bored of staring at the “chestnut with paws” and they wander off. By the morning the hedgehog is gone, and rumors start to fly around the henhouse. The hens are very bothered by the arrival and then disappearance of the strange animal. They worry about their chicks and eggs, which they quickly check. Even when it is clear that nothing is amiss, the hens fret and fuss. The rooster, wanting to take advantage of the situation so that he can gain influence in the farmyard, announces that they should “protect ourselves against prickly invaders” He suggests that they should build a high wall around the henhouse.
   The hens get to work, even though the other farm animals make fun of them. The hens work and work until the wall is so high that “no one could see where it ended.” The chickens never consider that perhaps, just maybe, their wall might be a waste of time.
    In this wonderfully simple, thoughtful, and funny picture book the author explores the way in which irrational fears can take over if we are not careful. As we ‘watch’ the chickens build their enormous wall, we come to appreciate that there are many people in our world who, like the chickens in this story, fear what they do not know. Their fears are fed by unfactual rumors, and all too often their response is extreme.
   Readers will be delighted when they see how the story ends. Maybe there is a way to overcome our fears of the unknown after all.

1 comment:

Joy Murray said...

Sounds like a great book. Chickens always make wonderful characters and we all build too many walls. I look forward to reading it.