Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Counting Chickens

Alakja, Polly (Author/Illustrator)
Quarto 2014. 28 pages
First published: 2014
ISBN: 9781847804372 (hardcover)
9781847806192 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

recurring patterns

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

In a village in Africa, a little boy named Tobi is very proud of his hen. All the children have animals of one sort or another and before they know it, the animals are producing offspring. On Monday a cow has a calf, on Tuesday a sheep has two lambs, and so on through the days of the week. Meanwhile, Tobi’s hen has a clutch of seven eggs, but no chicks. While the other baby animals are running, climbing and skipping, Toni patiently waits 21 days before the eggs hatch. The chicks later go on to have babies of their own, and pretty soon he can no longer keep count.

Text is simple and rhythmic, using days of the week and counting to seven as a frame: “On Friday, Laolu’s dog had five puppies. Tobi’s hen had laid a fifth egg. On Saturday, Dapo’s pig had six piglets. Tobi’s hen laid a sixth egg. On Sunday, Tobi’s hen laid a seventh egg. And there they sat, waiting.”

Intricate illustrations in acrylics and pencils depict a traditional West African village replete with touches of contemporary life. Basket weaving, thatched roofs and mud brick construction are contrasted with taxis, cell phones, and plastic containers hanging from bicycle handlebars. A lush palette and detailed paintings bring faces and activities to life.

This delightful counting book about patience has plenty to discover on every page.

  •  

    Make a class list of familiar animals and their babies (e.g. sheep have lambs).

  •  

    As you read, add new animal baby names that you learn.

  •  

    Ordinal numbers are numbers that indicate the order in which things happen (first, second, etc.). Make a class list of ordinal numbers up to 20. Write out the steps of an invented game that includes ordinal numbers, then play it with a partner.

  •  

    Go for a picture walk. Discuss the characters and animals. Where do you think this story takes place? Find it on a world map. Make a class list of the animals in the book that you know. List and learn the names of new ones.

  •  

    As the story is read aloud, count the animals. In a second reading, notice the names of the baby animals and add them to the list. In a third reading, add the animals’ actions to the list.

  •  

    Use teacher-prepared cards to order days, children’s names, animals, actions and cardinal and ordinal numbers. Use the word cards and book illustrations to retell the story.

  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Mathematics
  • Science and Technology