Review Blog

Aug 01 2014

Mr Chicken lands on London by Leigh Hobbs

cover image

Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743315927
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Travel. London. Humour. Mr Chicken lands in London with a list of places he wants to visit. The large, yellow, ovoid figure of Mr Chicken graces each page as we see him at various sights around the city. He lands, of course, hanging from a Union Jack parachute and checks in at the Savoy Hotel where he enjoys his breakfast in bed, contemplating his list. From there he ventures to an amazing array of known sights: Buckingham Palace for tea with the Queen, a ride on the red bus, and the Underground; he climbs Nelson's Column and perches on top, visits the National Gallery and the London Eye, each time making a grand entrance amid the crowds of tourists. He perches on top of the Eros statue in Piccadilly Square and then retires to his hotel room for an afternoon nap. Starting again he has dinner in the crypt at St Martin's in the Field, goes to the Opera, and leaves early to get to Big Ben in time to climb the stairs and be inside the clock when it strikes nine fifteen, his eyes being the clock hands.
After his full English breakfast he sheds a tear saying goodbye from Waterloo Bridge and heads off in his balloon, promising to return.
Following Mr Chicken through London, as with Paris, allows the reader to assimilate the main attractions of these cities, while engaged in a humorous story of the affable Mr Chicken. He meanders through the crowds to see the things he has on his list, taking the readers with him on his travels.
Younger readers will get to know the tourist sights and the look of a great city with its hordes of people, network of transport facilities and maze of streets and buildings. They will enjoy the fact of making a list, and sticking to that list to get everything done within the time allowed. They will be able to discuss the things needed to have an enjoyable holiday.
The illustrations are just wonderful, showing this oversized tourist enjoying himself while taking up so much room. The drawings of London's main attractions are a delight and the endpapers add another dimension to the story, with a map at the start and thank you letters and postcards at the end. All will add meaning to the story to discuss with readers.
And with the other title, Mr Chicken goes to Paris, a treat is in store for the readers. A fascinating video clip about the development of Mr Chicken can also be viewed.
Fran Knight

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