Wednesday, February 11, 2009

REVIEW: Chicken Cheeks

Black, M.I., & Hawkes, K. (2008). Chicken Cheeks (the beginning of the ends). New
York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.


Books like Chicken Cheeks are why I devoted my life to children’s literature. The story, initially appears to be a simple listing of different synonyms for various animals’ backsides. Through the illustrations, however, the reader eventually gets an understanding of a story at work. (Perhaps story is too grand a word for this book, it’s more a plan being executed and the fall-out after)

'Back'-sides expanding students’ choices in synonyms for ‘bum’ (which any parent is bound to love his or her child knowing), Chicken Cheeks could also help with phonics.

I suppose part of my love for this book derives from my own childhood fascination with the word butt (two ts). Whenever my father would use ‘but’ in a sentence he would have to spell it out “B-U-T! ONE T!” to prevent my giggling.
It’s worth noting that one of the authors of the book is an actor and comedian. I personally love Michael Ian Black most from his work on the TV show Ed, the TV show Ed that still hasn’t come out on DVD, making a certain fan bitter.

Activities to do with the book:

Have students create their own unlikely scenarios in which all of the animals included in Chicken Cheeks would have to come together once more. Perhaps this book could be a jumping off point to learn other animal anatomy (claw, beak, hoof etc.). This could then lead into the differences between mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, fish, insects and spiders.

More than anything though, this book is fun. Reading it should illicit giggles. This is a good book to have a child read with one adult or alone while sounding out the words. Then after saying ‘caboose’ out loud, a child should feel free to laugh.

Favorite Animal Bottoms Include:

Moose caboose, Penguin patootie, Polar bear derriere, Turkey tushy, Hound dog heinie, Toucan can and Deer rear.

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