Review Blog

May 29 2020

Bin chicken by Kate and Jol Temple

cover image

Illus. by Ronojoy Ghosh. Scholastic, 2020. ISBN: 9781743830048.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. The term 'bin chicken' is new to me, but looking it up on google, I was amazed at how well grounded the term is. And the urbanisation of the Australian White Ibis is a problem almost Australia wide, beginning in the late 1970's.
As the ibis rummages through the waste we leave behind, a splendid opportunity is offered by the author to point out how much we throw away, and for classes to undertake some work about recycling.
But this book uses humour to tell its readers about the ibis and its strength, pushing aside the bullies and keeping on what she is doing. The verse story shows us the detractors: the sparrow, pigeon, seagull and crow, all picketing the ibis to stop giving birds a bad name. But Ibis carries on doing what she does: diving into trash cans, rummaging through dumpsters, swimming through rubbish, taking home odds and sods to its nest where her chicks are schooled into the life led by an urban iris.
The verse encourages readers to predict the rhyming words, and learn some of the stanzas, enabling them to read it along with the teacher, or read it for themselves. The lists of items found in the trash cans, dumpsters and lying around on the street will be added to by the readers, encouraging them to look out for waste left behind.
The digital illustrations add humour and background to the story and students will laugh at the antics of the other birds as they picket the ibis, call it names and deride its lifestyle. I love the rat, Ibis' only friend, as it supports the efforts of the ibis, keeping close by. Readers will love searching for Rat on each page, and laugh at the array of waste found by Ibis and Rat.
Despite all the rubbish thrown at her by other birds, the bullying by the quartet, Ibis comes out on top, building her nest, caring for her chicks, teaching them to scavenge as she does. They are survivors. Themes: Birds, Ibis, Rubbish, Scavenging, Waste, Verse, Read aloud.
Fran Knight

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