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Author: Barbara M. Joosse

Illustrator: Rick Chrustowski

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Publisher: Greenwillow Books, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers,

Material: hard cover

Summary: A mother hen lays seven eggs. The seven chicks act just like toddlers: curious, running around the barnyard, and investigating everything, not knowing whether or not it is dangerous. The chicks wander from mother hen’s wing (they “Higgledy Piggledy”). Mother hen cannot keep track of every single thing the 7 chicks get into, so of course, they end up in danger (a cat, a snake, and a raccoon). Mother hen calls them back and they scurry back to her while the rooster, auntie hens, and a goose chase away the danger. This picture book can help you illustrate several life lessons, from listening to stranger danger.

Type of Reading: playtime reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 6; read yourself: 7 to 9

Interest Level: 3 to 6

Reading Level: 1.7

Age of Child: Read with two boys, ages 3 and 5.

Young Reader Reaction: My sons loved this book. It is a fun story. The text lends itself to funny character voices and actions words, which always makes reading fun. My 3 year old loved all the familiar animals, and we loved counting first the eggs and then the chicks.

Adult Reader Reaction: I liked this book, because I could directly relate to it. As a mother of 3 boys (ages 1, 3, and 5 years), I feel just like this mother hen with her toddlers always investigating, wandering, and getting into trouble. I just wish I had several other mother hens around all the time to keep little hands out of trouble! It really touched my heart, as a parallel, to see this mother hen doing her best to teach these chicks how to stay out of danger, and always doing her best to make sure her babies were safe. The illustrations are wonderful, and stand up to the wonderful message of the story.

Pros: This is a fun book with animals in it, perfect for a toddler’s attention. It has wonderful illustrations, a heart-warming message, and fun action text that settles down at the end for bedtime.

Cons: None!

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a wonderful book for families with multiple young children — where mom has a handful corralling them. I would absolutely purchase this book. I have a friend or two I expect to give this to as a family holiday gift.


Educational Themes: This is a fun book for exploring. Toddlers can learn counting (up to seven), animal names and sounds, and safety. You can reinforce lessons about the importance of listening to adults (read: Mom) and safety, too.

Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, animal characters, safety, life lessons

Date(s) Reviewed: September 2010

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