Illustrator: Peter J. Welling
Publisher: Pelican Publishing ©2015
Grade Level: K-5
Book Review: Jane Sutton's books frequently appear in Literature Connects because she has a tremendous talent for taking real life experiences and creating delightful narratives that both inform and entertain. Jane definitely doesn't disappoint in her newest release, What's Up with this Chicken? It is a wonderful story filled with interesting information about chickens and is told in Sutton's signature style: believable characters, magnificent humor and plenty of word play. The book contains a powerful embedded message about how to resolve conflicts by changing your perspective. Trudy refuses to get off her eggs. Sylvia can't understand why. Under the tutelage of a wise grandmother, Sylvia comes to understand that Trudy is not difficult, she is really just broody. Don't miss out on this "egg-cellent" book. It is appropriate for students PreK-5 because it can be read and enjoyed on so many levels.
Systems Thinking Connections
Habits: Sylvia and her grandmother could easily become frustrated with Trudy and decide that she has outlived her usefulness as an egg-laying chicken; instead, they consider the issue fully (including doing some important research) and resist the urge to come to a quick conclusion. As a result, they recognize that there is a reason for Trudy's behavior, her desire to mother chicks is a fundamental structure of Trudy's natural make up. A deep but meaningful example of recognizing that a system's structure generates its behavior. They surface their assumption--Trudy is a broody hen--and then test their assumption by purchasing some fertilized eggs. For younger children simply recognizing how changing their perspective helps Sylvia and her grandmother increase their understanding is a very worthwhile connection.
Tools: Conflict is central to any good story. The conflict resolution is particularly strong in What's Up with This Chicken? So much so, that children could use this balancing loop to explain how conflict in this story is resolved.