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Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken    by Kate DiCamillo & Harry Bliss order for
Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken
by Kate DiCamillo
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2008 (2008)

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

What happens when a chicken has a case of wanderlust? Well, that may not be a question you've ever asked yourself, but in case you are curious, you may find your answer in the latest picture book by Kate DiCamillo, a Newbery Medal winner who is also the author of The Tale of Despereaux and Because of Winn-Dixie.

Louise has aspirations beyond her chicken coop. She decides she needs adventure, so she set off for worlds unknown. Louise decides to sail the seas, but has a run-in with a band of pirates, who, in several comical scenes, debate whether Louise should be fricasseed, stewed, or made into dumplings. After narrowly escaping with her life, Louise returns to the henhouse and tells the story of where she has been.

You can't keep a good chicken down for long, though. Louise soon needs to explore the world again. She has several more dangerous adventures, one of which lands her in the circus, almost to be eaten by a lion. While traveling in what seems to be the Middle East, she ends up getting captured and put in cages with other chickens. Louise defies the term chicken by implementing a daring escape plan. At the book's end, though, Louise realizes that there is no place like home, and that being safe and comfortable is a good thing.

The book is frankly not as compelling as I'd expect from an author with DiCamillo's credentials, but it is a pleasant enough read, particularly if you take the time to enjoy the humorous and detailed drawings.

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