Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken by Kate DiCamillo
DiCamillo, Kate. Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken. Illustrated by Harry Bliss. HarperCollins Publishers, 2008. 56 pages. Tr. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-075554-6.
DiCamillo, Kate. Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken. Narrated by Barbara Rosenblat. Live Oak Media, 2009. CD with Hardback book, 19 minutes. $ 28.95. ISBN 978-1-430-10688-3.
Annotation: A daring hen tires of her henhouse and goes in search of adventure. She is captured by pirates, nearly eaten by a lion, and is kidnapped at a bazaar but successfully escapes each time. Although she loves adventure, she always returns to the comforts and friendship awaiting her at home.
Summary: Louise, the brave French chicken, longs for adventure. She sets off to discover the world and is not disappointed. She is captured by hungry pirates, joins a circus and is nearly eaten by a lion, and is kidnapped at a foreign bazaar but escapes. After each short bout of adventure, she always returns to her henhouse to enjoy the company and comforts of home. After her last adventure, she finally shares the tales of her adventures with her sister chickens who are mesmerized. Louise realizes her adventures can continue with the transporting power of storytelling.
Evaluation: In this picture book divided into four short chapters, the line and watercolor illustrations detail the action scenes as Louise goes in search of and finds real adventure. The slightly repetitive narrative and the excellent pacing deepen the interest in the story. The main message is not about seeking your own adventure, but instead about the fulfillment found in sharing stories with friends and family. Recommended for ages 4 to 10.
Genre / Subject: Juvenile Fiction, Adventure, Animals, Chickens, Storytellling
Awards: 2010 Odyssey Award Winner for Excellence in Audiobook Production