Chick and Chickie Play All Day!. by Claude Ponti. February 14, 2012. Toon Books. 36 pages. ISBN: 9781935179146
Chick and Chickie Play All Day! is a Toon Book based on two books previously published in French. In this English version, two chicks make masks and then play school by terrorizing a red letter A.
It is very obvious reading this book that two separate stories have been spliced together. There is no smooth transition from one into the text, and I found myself feeling totally confused when they finished making masks and suddenly dragged a letter A onto the page. I think what the author does with the letter A is a great concept. Chick and Chickie get the A to make different versions of the short A sound by tickling the A and making it scream. Unfortunately, I had to read that section twice before I had any idea what was going on. It’s possible that the concept for that second half of the book simply gets lost in translation, but even so, the brilliant idea falls flat because it is poorly executed. There just isn’t enough context for kids to understand the author’s play on the letter sound. The ending also didn’t make any sense - and still doesn’t, though I’ve read it several times.
I’m a big fan of the Toon Books series, but this one is a rare anomaly that doesn’t really fit in amongst others of the series. The art is definitely appealing, and that is probably what will cause kids to grab it from the library shelf, but the story itself might not be enough to keep them coming back again and again. Stronger alternatives to this book are the Benny and Penny books and the Zig and Wikki books, also published by Toon Books.
I borrowed Chick and Chickie Play All Day! from my local public library.
For more about this book, visit Goodreads and Worldcat.
NOTE: This book was nominated by Mary Ann Scheuer for the 2012 Cybils Awards in the Easy Reader/Early Chapter Book category. I am a first-round panelist in this category, but this review reflects my opinions only, not those of any other panelist, or the panel as a whole. Thanks!