This story reads wonderfully aloud as it is silly, repetitive, and the message is more clear than in some of Idries Shah’s other Sufi inspired teaching books. Written on an AR 4.0 level with 32 pages. Some pages are heavily text laden while others just sprinkle a few words across a beautifully illustrated page. Like his other books, the illustrations are truly spot on. The lively faces on the characters, and colorful scenes bring the story to life and keep the audience engaged and giggling.
A man decides to learn how to speak “chicken,” when that doesn’t work, he teaches the chicken to speak our kind of language. Fluent and conversational, the chicken then tells the villagers that, “The earth is going to swallow us up!”. Everyone runs in all directions, up the mountain, down the mountain, across the meadow, around the world, but they can never get away from the earth. When they return, they are upset with the chicken and ask how he knows that the earth is going to swallow them up, to which he replies that he doesn’t. After they recap all the trouble he has put them through he poignantly laughs at them and asks, ” You think a chicken knows something just because he can talk?” Realizing how foolish they have been the chicken begins telling more outlandish things, just to make the people laugh, and isn’t taken seriously again.
The message is clear, the characters funny, and the illustrations engaging. I finally found an Idries Shah book that I like! Yay, I guess for me they are hit or miss, and this one was definitely a hit!