Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken by Kate DiCamillo & Harry Bliss
Posted by hollybookscoops on November 4, 2008
The cover of this book fascinated me when I saw it displayed on the library book shelf. A chicken riding a wave on a log like a surf-board just cried out, “Read me!” So, I did. The adventure is composed of three chapters, each with a new story, starring Louise, the Chicken. I have to admit, my hopes were dashed a bit when I discovered that Louise doesn’t actually surf, she just hangs onto a piece of a ship for dear life. However, the adventures were full of just what children love to imagine taking part in: Sailing on a ship that gets attacked by pirates (although I must admit the illustration of a drowning pirate was a little much for a children’s story), joining a circus and being chased by a scary lion, and finally, traveling to a foreign country. The fourth chapter concludes the book just as Louise ends each chapter, by returning home to the safety and security of familiarity. Except for the drowning pirate, I really enjoyed the vivid, playful illustrations. My children especially loved it when Louise runs away from the lion and repeatedly turned to that page to get a good laugh.
So, my one issue: I know the pirate was bad and I think it’s fine to infer that the pirates drowned, but I think acutally illustrating a drowning pirate goes too far (although my children didn’t seem to be bothered by it). But, perhaps you think it opens a good discussion for why we don’t go in water without adult supervision or why we don’t become pirates? Where do you think the line should be drawn when dealing with death in children’s literature?