PPBF: The Chickens Build a Wall

I interrupt this review so the little jackrabbit and I can say thanks (“Go on give it to them now. Yes, the note!”) again for all the kind words of encouragement on my entry for Susanna’s illustration contest (see all the finalist covers HERE). Now, let’s read a book… Jack rabbit Who Cried Gllamonster_20(2)-1

Author/Illustrator:  Jean-François Dumont
Publisher: Eerdmans, 2013); Originally published in French by Flammarion, in 2011, Une poule derriére un mur.
Ages: 4-8yrs
Themes: chickens, farm animals, toleration
Opening: On the farm, the chickens have built a wall, though no one is exactly sure why.
Summary: (from my library catalog) When a friendly hedgehog visits the farm, the chickens build an enormous wall to keep out “prickly invaders.” ChickenWall2 I like this book: It MUST be spring, because I had to review another farm-life book! And because the rat calls the hedgehog, “this chestnut with paws.” The traditional art is humorous and cartoon-like, created in warm colors and richly textured strokes. The story is one of tolerance, or the lack thereof. No one had ever seen a hedgehog before. I wish I could share this with my 19 yr old, as she has recently experienced some 2nd hand intolerance while shopping with her new college besties in Germany. One is from Nigeria, the other from Brazil, and my daughter was shocked to see a couple bend 90° in a not-to-be-mistaken what’s-up-with-the-dreadlocks glance. I’m happy that she was able to experience this, to better understand what her ‘foreign looking’ colleagues go through every day. ChickenWall1 Resources/activities: sing Old MacDonald – again!; discuss tolerance and acceptance – please!;  get crazy and build a chicken coop, maybe even one like the one below (don’t forget to get some chickens too!) For more really cool chicken coop ideas, click HERE; Check out the other books on the 2014 list of Notable Books for a Global Society – HERE

For more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

48 thoughts on “PPBF: The Chickens Build a Wall

  1. I’m holding a red hot poker to keep Renee away from the wascawwy wabbit which is wightfully mine! 😀

    Gosh, he’s cute.

    So are wall-building chickens. I glanced nervously out the window at ours to make sure they weren’t up to mischief as I rea this post. Thankfully, our chickens are not nearly that bright though they do have quirky personalities. 🙂

    Happy weekend!


  2. When I look at Mo Willem’s illustrations, I marvel at what his characters express with their eyes.

    When I look at Julie Rowan-Zoch’s illustrations, I truly marvel at what her characters express with their mouths AND eyes. How DO you do it?

    Yep, and boots. And duckies. (sigh)


  3. OH MY STARS!!! I didn’t think your jackrabbit could get any cuter—-but I am even more smitten. I will be first in line when he comes out in book and stuffed form! Oh – almost forgot – I like the sounds of this book…funny premise with a nicely attached moral.


  4. Actually, gang, this looks like a different rabbit, not “Jack” (which, btw, might make a good name! 🙂 )

    Anyway, LOVE the sketch and LOVE the look of this book! The perspective within the walls is fantastic! And, excuse me, but—-the rat calls the hedgehog, “this chestnut with paws.” LOL! HAD to order it from the library just now 🙂 The chicken coop truck is great, too! Thanks for the review, Julie 🙂 Glad to be aware of this book now!


  5. Lovely once again. I can’t wait to get my paws on the Chicken book, and I wouldn’t mind adding a genuine Julie Jackrabbit book to my shelves either. Shall I contact Candlewick? 😉
    Thanks for the review.


  6. The illo of Rabbit reading under the covers is so wonderful… and the boots! and duckie! (and the way his feet are placed!) in the first one. Great fun.

    The book sounds fab, too. Like writersideup, I loved that “chestnut with paws” description of the hedgehog. And books about tolerance that don’t hit you over the head are SO needed. I’ve requested this one from the library. And my silly brain is now singing “The Chickens Build a Wall” to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell.” I have a very silly brain.


  7. To add to the bunny-love, this little guy is perfect, Julie. Publishers need to be beating down your door if they have any sense at all. (Just an opinion about an artist friend I so admire!)


  8. I hope you have a story for your Jack Rabbit (or girl chipmunk as Enzo likes to call him). This story looks fun and a good one to suggest for my neighborhood.


  9. I like the English title better than the original french (I think it’s A Hen Behind a Wall). This reminds me of the theme in Jacqueline Woodson’s book (is it called The Other Side?) but this looks much lighter in tone. Now, I want to know why Teresa gets Jackrabbit?! (yes, I’m pouting).


  10. This post made my day! I”m all ready for the weekend now.

    The wabbit and duckies and all the colorful comments are super thrillers. I Just LOVE the rabbit as everyone does. I Hope you keep him ready to introduce PPBF to us readers..

    And yes, the book sounds rich too. Full of lessons one would hope was imparted before adult hood. Thanks so much, Julie! 🙂


  11. That rabbit is mine, I tell you, MINE! My name is written on the front of that envelope. I gave him those red boots for his birthday. Mine, I tell you. 😀

    I’m happy to see a good chicken book too.


  12. love your rabbit – esp the “reading under covers with a flashlight”… is he reading the Chicken-building-wall book? Chickens lay eggs, but do they also lay bricks? Inquiring minds must know!


  13. Reading all these comments has been as much fun as your post itself! JRZ + jackrabbit + Candlewick — sounds like a good combination. Chickens building walls sounds scary! But the book looks pretty funny!


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