September, 2010: Big Chickens

posted Sep 23, 2010, 6:35 PM by Jennifer Hove   [ updated Sep 23, 2010, 6:56 PM ]
Dear Students and Teachers,

Happy New School Year! As we begin the 2010-2011 school year, I want to remind you that each month your class will get a new book from me. These Books of the Month are stories that everyone in our school will read together. We’ll be able to talk about the same characters, the same problems, and the same authors. That helps us build a learning community of readers.

The September Book of the Month is Big Chickens, by Leslie Helakoski. When I read it at last year’s Book Fair, I knew that it was destined to become a Book of the Month because it contains at least one really good lesson. I’d like you to talk about the lessons you notice in the book when you read it with your class. What lessons do the chickens learn?
One of the things I noticed about the book is how Leslie Helakoski plays with language. Every time the chickens get into trouble she uses three words that all begin with the same sound – “cautions, careful, cowardly,” or “squeaked, squirmed and squealed.” This makes the story fun to read and fun to listen to aloud. This is a technique I’ve seen other authors use. The title is also funny if you think about it.
Another thing I like is the way the author repeats the same pattern as the story begins to unfold. See if you notice the pattern she uses. This makes the story easy for me to follow. Leslie Helakoski really thought about her audience of readers when she wrote this book. That’s an important thing for a writer to do.

Now that I’m a grown up, I try really hard not to be a BIG CHICKEN. I’ve learned that worrying about the “what ifs” are just a waste of my time and energy. What do you think?

Happy reading,
Mrs. Hollinger
P.S. If you like this book, there is another one called Big Chickens Fly the Coop.