Reviews for Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken

Booklist Reviews 2008 October #2
"No longer satisfied with her cozy coop, Louise the chicken sets off in search of adventure. In three distinct chapters, she finds it: on a pirate ship, where she's nearly stewed with dumplings until a storm drowns her crew; at the circus, where she plunges from the high-wire and escapes a lion's jaws; and at a "fabulous bazaar," where a fortune-teller's warning to beware a dark stranger leads to terrifying imprisonment and escape. After each foray into the world, Louise returns to the safety of her farm, until wanderlust hits again. In the final chapter, though, she stays home and shares her tales with the other chickens, who, just by listening, become travelers, too. The episodic pacing is abrupt, but the narrative--filled with rhythmic, repetitive phrases ("the deep and dreamless sleep of the true adventurer" is an appealing refrain)--will read aloud well to a crowd, who will also enjoy Bliss' illustrations, in which bright-white Louise stands out against humorous, action-filled scenes. The message about the transporting power of stories deepens this enjoyable, farcical adventure." Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Spring
Barnyard hen Louise longs for adventure. Leaving home, she's captured by pirates, chased by a lion, and kidnapped at a bazaar. Louise ultimately returns to tell her tales, and the book ends with a contented henhouse. DiCamillo masterfully conveys the fulfillment of sharing stories. Louise's adventures are exciting (and often funny), each dramatically captured in Bliss's sweeping watercolors. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2008 #6
Barnyard hen Louise longs for adventure; as chapter one opens, she has gone to sea, where she is almost immediately captured by pirates and barely escapes being fricasseed, thanks to a fortuitous storm. Back at the farm, she deflects the interest of the other chickens and sleeps "the deep and dreamless sleep of the true adventurer." Chapter two, however, sees Louise off again, this time to the circus, where she cleverly escapes from a hungry lion; safe at home, she once more ignores her friends' questions about her exploits. In chapter three, she heads to the mysterious East, where, having been kidnapped at a bazaar, she manages to free herself and her fellow prisoners. This time, when she returns home, Louise finally shares her stories of adventure, and the book ends with the entire henhouse content, all sleeping that "deep and dreamless" sleep. Louise's adventures are exciting (and often funny), and each is dramatically captured in Bliss's sweeping watercolors, which are distinctly his own yet manage to pay homage to such diverse entities as the Dutch masters and The African Queen. But what sets the book apart is DiCamillo's masterful storytelling, with exquisite pacing, compelling language, and just the right amount of repetition. Despite such crowd-pleasing elements, the story is best suited to more sophisticated picture book consumers, for its true message is not the thrill of adventure but the fulfillment found in the sharing of stories. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2008 September #3

Newbery Medalist DiCamillo (The Tale of Despereaux ) joins forces with the formidably talented Bliss (Diary of a Worm ) for a series of ripping yarns about a chicken who just can't stay down on the farm. By the time the book reaches its fourth and final chapter (and that word is used more to evoke the book's swashbuckling scale than to indicate a preponderance of text), the indomitable Louise has seen it all and done it all, from escaping pirates on storm-tossed high seas to joining the circus--and she's been envisioned as a tasty dish by just about everyone. Not surprisingly, while Louise relishes her wanderlust, she also experiences Weltschmerz --here's the hen contemplating the circus: "Safe in a clown's wig, hidden beneath his hat, Louise thought of the henhouse and what a quiet, spectacularly lion-free place it was." DiCamillo's brisk, comic narrative crackles with read-aloud savoriness, and her respect for Louise makes the book all the funnier. And where lesser artists might have packed lots of visual nudge-nudges, Bliss creates a thrilling sense of place and puts his wide-eyed heroine front and center. An enlarged format does justice to the details in the art--and to the grand sweep of the storytelling. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2008 November

PreS-Gr 2--A picture book in four chapters in which a thrill-seeking chicken repeatedly leaves the warm security of her henhouse seeking excitement. She is captured by hungry pirates, survives a sinking ship, joins the circus, narrowly escapes a lion, is caged with other chickens, picks the lock with her beak, and liberates her fellow captives. Back home in her barnyard, Louise enthralls her sister chickens with the story of her grand exploits, until all fall asleep tucked safely in their henhouse, having felt the vicarious frisson of adventure. In the nicely patterned telling, DiCamillo ends each of Louise's escapades with an old hen asking her where she has been. "Oh, here and there," is Louise's casual answer. Each new chapter begins with the bold brooder still eager to embark anew. Bliss's illustrations depict the settings of Louise's capers in vague antique worlds with various backdrops and in various eras. On every spread, Louise's bright white feathers and brilliant red cockscomb will stand out and draw the eyes of young readers. Smart choices in book design allow for an oversize book that suits its larger-than-life heroine, and vertical spreads that capture Louise's circus high-wire walk to maximum visual effect. This is a jolly metaphor for the stages of childhood in which young children long for short-lived independence and exploration always within the reassuring bounds of a secure home and family.--Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Old Greenwich, CT

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