Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations


*****The Wolf's Chicken Stew

by Keiko Kasza

Reviewed December 20, 2003.
G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 2003.  32 pages.
A Sonderbooks’ Stand-out of 2003:  #3, Old Favorite Picture Books

I’m reviewing The Wolf’s Chicken Stew this week in honor of 4-year-old Sarah, from church.

Last Monday, some ladies at church decided to have a Mothers’ Day Out for moms of young kids and homeschoolers.  I was asked to bring some books to read to the kids.  I had a great audience, from babies to 7-year-olds, and I got to read them six of my favorite picture books, ones that I don’t often read to my 9-year-old any more.

The six I chose were:  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Rainy Morning, Bark, George!, Simply Delicious, The Very Quiet Cricket, and The Wolf’s Chicken Stew.  I had a wonderful time reading to them, and they were great listeners, but the truly fantastic part was that all of a sudden, I had friends among the kids of the church.  After reading to them, I had four of the kids come up to me separately within the next week and start talking to me about different things.  Clearly, they now view me as a friend.  I feel honored.

My favorite conversation was with 4-year-old Sarah because, almost a week later, she wanted to tell me what she liked about the books I read.  She walked up to me and told me that her favorite was The Wolf’s Chicken Stew.  We talked about that book (She could remember it all.) and then about the parts of the others that she liked. (She mentioned three of the five others and remembered which books I had read better than I did.)  Since I have reviewed most of the others before, I think it’s high time to review The Wolf’s Chicken Stew.

Mr. Wolf loves to eat more than anything else in the world.  One day, he gets a craving for chicken stew.  He sees a chicken walking by and decides she’d do nicely, but then has second thoughts.  Why not fatten her up a bit first?

He commences baking and leaves at her door pancakes and doughnuts and cake.  He’s sure she must be nice and fat for his stew by now.

The ending is a delightful surprise, and perfectly done.  Let’s just say that the chicken doesn’t get eaten and she and the wolf end up as the best of friends.

The illustrations in this book—especially the comical looks on the wolf’s face at the end—help make it so completely delightful.  This is a great one.  Just ask Sarah!

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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