I got a chicken for my birthday by Laura Gehl

cover image

Ill. by Sarah Horne. CarolRhoda Books, 2018. ISBN 9781512431308
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Poultry, Birthdays, Presents. Ana really wants tickets to the amusement park for her birthday and she has told her abuela (grandmother) three times. But the day of her birthday arrives with a large gift wrapped crate and inside is a chicken. She is disappointed, but realises that she needs to feed it, and going to do just that, the chicken displays a sign saying she has no time for food. Ana thinks that perhaps she likes scrambled eggs, but going to the chicken she has another sign telling her that she has no time for laying eggs, and gives Ana a huge list of things to collect and buy.
When all the things are amassed for the chicken, she spends her time with pencil and ruler, working out dimensions, and then roping in Ana's dog to help. Next she has the cat working as well. The hamster becomes the tractor driver, and lots of other animals call in to help. Readers will be agog to see what the chicken is building, as lengths of wood are hoisted into the air, and a framework built.
By now readers will be making guesses at what they will eventually find, and laugh out loud at the illustrations showing the animals donning builder's belts, hard hats and wielding building tools for the task.
Readers will have guessed that Ana's abuela has given her what she wanted for her birthday but in a more roundabout way than she expected.
The vibrant illustrations are full of humour, reflecting the disappointment Ana holds in not getting what she wanted, but intrigued with what the chicken and the other animals are doing.
Young readers will love picking out the various farmyard animals portrayed, and recognise aspects of building and the equipment needed for such a task.
I particularly love the look on the chicken's face as she goes about her task, especially when capped with a safety helmet.
Fran Knight