Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise
David Ezra Stein’s sequel to his Caldecott Honor book, “Interrupting Chicken,” takes the pun “an elephant of surprise” to comic lengths. Little red Chicken thinks her teacher said that “every story has an elephant of surprise,” so Papa reads her a trio of fairy tales (The Ugly Duckling, Rapunzel, The Little Mermaid) to prove that there are no elephants in the plots and that Chicken misunderstood the teacher’s reference to “an element of surprise.” Chicken, however, insists on imagining elephants—chubby blue elephants—at every climactic moment in the tales, until her understanding Papa writes a story for her with an elephant that appears just where it’s supposed to. Stein’s color-saturated multimedia illustrations and quirky design (a varied use of text styles and white space) enhance the book’s comic, cozy mood.
Lynne Heffley ©2018 Parents’ Choice
A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper’s first weekly children’s arts and entertainment beat.