________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 11 . . . . November 11, 2011


Chicken, Pig, Cow and the Class Pet. (A Ruth Ohi Picture Book).

Ruth Ohi.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 2011.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $6.95 (pbk.), $19.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55451-346-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55451-347-5 (hc.).

Preschool-kindergarten / Ages 3-5.

Review by Claire Perrin.

**** /4


In Ohi’s fifth book of the “Chicken, Pig and Cow” series, the three clay animals are carried off to school with their owner, Girl. Surprised by all the noise and commotion around them, the animals try to make sense of their new surroundings. They are even more surprised when a real hamster approaches their popsicle stick barn. The animals are afraid that “Furface” will eat their barn, and so they try coaxing him back into his cage. In a hilarious attempt to lead him back to safety, the trio throw pieces of lettuce at the hamster, saying “Fetch” and “Follow the Leader”. Finally the hamster returns to his cage with lettuce for lunch, much to the relief of Chicken, Pig and Cow. In spite of the “Furface” episode, it has been a great trip to school with Girl, but the animals are happy to return home.

“Fetch,” said Chicken.

“Fetch,” said Pig.

“Follow the leader,” said Cow.

“I am not a salad,” said Chicken.

And then Chicken, Pig and Cow heard noise.

Lots of noise.

Girl and her friends were coming.

Ohi’s clever word choice creates a lot of humour with very few words. The dialogue among the three animals is simple but funny as they try to understand where they are. The text is well spaced out on the page, making it easy to read aloud or for young children to read themselves.

internal art      The colourful watercolour illustrations are uncluttered but full of extra information about the characters and plot. Many pages have several illustrations, effectively showing a sequence of events. In particular, children will love the picture of chicken with a piece of lettuce on her head when she says “I am not a salad.”

     Themes of friendship, problem solving and dealing with new situations are presented throughout this series. In Chicken, Pig, Cow and the Class Pet, the try, try again approach to solving the hamster problem illustrates perseverance and using one’s imagination.

     This book makes an excellent read-aloud for younger children and is another successful addition to the “Chicken, Pig, Cow” series.

Highly Recommended.

Claire Perrin is an elementary school teacher-librarian with the Toronto District School Board.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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