Which Came First: The Chicken or the Friendship?
Written by Elana K. Arnold
Illustrated by A. N. Kang
(Roaring Brook Press; $14.99, Ages 4-7)
★Starred review – Kirkus
Starla Jean – Which Came First: The Chicken or the Friendship? is the first in a new early chapter book series by author Elana K. Arnold. Divided into four chapters and written in first-person, the book begins with Starla Jean and her father going to the park where Starla Jean happens upon a chicken. Her father tells her, “If you can catch it, you can keep it” not believing that she actually will. But Starla Jean can do anything she sets her mind to! So, of course, she does catch the chicken and they take it home. She names her Opal Egg, so the chicken will feel more comfortable and know they don’t want to eat her “because you don’t give a name to your dinner.” Back home Mom is not too pleased although baby sister Willa eventually benefits from Opal Egg.
However, the big question remains: if Starla Jean found a chicken, does that mean someone lost a chicken? The family puts up ‘Found’ signs to locate her owner but when the chicken’s owner does show up, does that mean Starla Jean will have to say goodbye to her new friend?
A. N. Kang’s illustrations are crisp and plentiful on every page, encouraging early readers who are attempting to read this book on their own. Humor is also abundant in each picture, whether it’s showing a chicken taking a dust bath or Opal Egg wearing one of Willa’s diapers, an idea Starla Jean has to satisfy her mother’s complaint against her.
At the conclusion of the book, Fun Facts about Chickens provides seven educational and entertaining facts with accompanying illustrations that both adults and children will find interesting and humorous. For instance: Chickens use the sun to tell what time it is shows a chicken wearing sunglasses and a sun with clock hands. And another one: Chickens can do math! They can add and subtract small numbers, shows a chicken wearing glasses and standing at a chalkboard after writing 1 + 2 = 3.
With its unique premise of a young girl and her friendship with a chicken who takes center stage, this book’s refreshing storyline will easily become a favorite in a new series for readers of early chapter books. And that they will learn from this first title some interesting facts about chickens and be entertained along the way only adds to its value.
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- Reviewed by Freidele Galya Soban Biniashvili
Click here for another chapter book review by Freidele.