Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Bawk, Bawk, Whoops!

Much as children and dogs can't resist jumping in a muddy puddle, the cover of Blue Chicken written and illustrated by Deborah Freedman, shows that a particular chicken with three duckling companions are having splish-splashing fun in blue paint.  Who can resist such gleeful abandon?  It makes you want to join in immediately.

So you do.  Opening the book, endpapers reveal a pale gray room, two window frames giving a view of a steel blue day, rain falling, clouds hanging low with a barn nearby.  The title page follows, zooming out showing an artist's table complete with jars of paint, brushes, a water jar with brushes, a pencil and a barnyard graphic in front of a four-framed window. With the next turn of page one of the chickens in the coop pops up her head coming to life off the illustration.

An unseen voice exclaims that the painting is nearly finished and today is a good day for painting the barn, then noticing that perhaps one of the chickens wants to help.  Dipping her white head in a pot of blue paint it spills over her and a great deal of the painting.  Before long it spreads turning the world completely and totally blue.


The repentant little fowl is so sorry.  Perhaps there is a way to make the farm critters not so blue...literally. With the help of a baby duck the two tip, tip, tip that jar of water.  Thank goodness, those hues of blue are washed away...except for the sky, as it should be. 

Zooming back readers see through the window the outside sky has been rinsed clear also,  making it a good day for painting the barn.    Looking back at the illustrator's table what do we see?  Some artistic ducklings and the chicken trying to move a jar of red paint.  Closing endpapers tell the tale of what they accomplish.

Deborah Freedman, using watercolor, pencil, ink and a bit of Photoshop, conveys clearly and cleverly the emotion on the barnyard animals aghast at their dilemma and the panic of the chicken.  Charming happiness portrayed when the problem is solved so delightfully can't help but bring smiles.  I'm smiling now just thinking about it.

Spare melodic text compliments two page spreads flowing like the medium used to create them. 

Playful use of paint, exuberant, curious, creative characters and the splendid blend of a paper and real world lift Blue Chicken written and illustrated by Deborah Freedman skyward.  Who doesn't want to be happy?  It's guaranteed for readers of this book.  I foresee a chorus of read it again, each and every time this title is shared.

For a memorable, delightful interview of Deborah Freedman go to this link at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast.  Freedman's website can be accessed by the link attached to her name at the beginning of this post.  Update:  An Educator's Guide to the Works of Deborah Freedman is now available.

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