|A glass egg! ( Auch, M.J. & H.)|
Once upon a time, in a chicken coop, lived a little peep called Chickarella. She “had a wonderful childhood until one night when a fox got into the coop and carried off her mother." Daddy Rooster did his best to console his chick, and worked hard being a single dad. But one day, a lady chicken from a neighboring farm arrived, with her own two daughters. It was love at first sight for Chickarella’s dad, and as for the chick, she was “eggcited to have a new family.” To show her happiness she hand made a dress for each of her new stepsisters. Alas, those girls were not worthy of her gifts! Soon Daddy Rooster was called away “on a wild goose chase”, and the moment he was gone, things changed around the home coop. Step-Hen made Chickarella giver her daughters ALL of her clothes! Plus she rearranged all the furniture. Worst of all, Chickarella got “locked in the springhouse every night.” Here she had nothing to eat but the bugs off the walls, and nothing to drink but the “crystal clear water that bubbled up through its floor.” Though she was forced to cook and clean for her stepfamily each day, she was not allowed to eat with them. Bugs and crystal clear water was all she got. Strangely, it seemed to be a very healthy diet, because her egg-laying output increased. Strangest of all, she began laying eggs with shells “of pure glass”. Soon there came a day when Ovumelda and Cholestera, her sisters, were clucking with the news that the prince was inviting all the pullets to his”Fowl Ball”. Here, he would choose a bride. Chickarella begged to be allowed to go — if only to peek at the fine hens—but her stepmother cackled and jeered at her. Then she made her get busy sewing new dresses for the stepsisters. This was so “eggsasperating” because they kept on making her change the details. Finally the big night arrived. Of course, Chickarella got locked in the springhouse before the haughty hens left for the ball. She fell asleep, but in the middle of the night the walls “fizzed with sparkles” and she saw an amazing sight: an old goose dresed in a gown the color of the night sky, carrying a magic wand. “Yikes! Who are you?’ the chick asked. “What, you’ve never read a fairy tale? I’m your Fairy Goosemother. I’ve been watching your stepmother run you ragged. Why don’tcha speak up?” Well, Chickarella said, she was sure her dad would take care of it all. When he got back that is. But the Goose fairy told her, “Don’t wait for someone else to fix things, dearie. You take charge. “ And she asked about the beautiful glass eggs she saw nestled in the straw. Now Chickarella confessed to her desire to go to the ball, and her Fairy Goosemother waved her wand over the sewing machine, and Chickarella was clothed in a shimmering gown of sky blue. “Now I remember! You’ll turn a pumpkin into a coach!” she exclaimed, and her Goosemother surprised her again. “ I don’t do transportation, dearie. I’ll call a cab, but at midnight the cabbie goes off duty and the snazzy outfit goes poof!” So Chickarella made it to the ball after all. She sure got an eyeful of party frocks when she got there! And “the prince was charmed by the eqqsquisite stranger” and insisted that she dance exclusively with him. Suddenly, the clock began to strike the midnight hour! Chickarella ran for it — and would you believe that just as she was running down the stairs, “ she felt an egg coming on. ‘I can’t stop to lay an egg!” she said to herself. But ‘there’s no holding back an egg on its way, especially a slippery glass one.” The egg popped out, the chick ran away, the clock struck twelve....and Chickarella had to run home “cluck naked”! Of course, the prince came looking for his enchanted chick. He sent a messenger around yelling, “Hear ye, hear ye! The prince seeks the mysterious hen he met at the fowl ball. The only clue she left is this egg. All single hens, please present your eggs.” So they all did, and Cholestera bragged about the size of her yolks, and the stepmother made sure that Chickarella was locked up tight in the springhouse. She squawked, but no one could hear her. So she laid a glass egg, and held it up, just as the prince passed her window! So the stepmother had to let her out. Then she told the prince that he must be crazy to marry her servant. But the prince said he wasn’t interested in finding a girl to marry anyway! All he had wanted was to see the dresses he knew the gals would wear. OMG! That was “eggsactly” what Chickeralla had most enjoyed at the Fowl Ball too! The prince told her, “Your costume was eggcellent, my dear.’ ‘Thanks, Highness. I’m really into fashion.’ There was a burst of sparkles. ‘Fahsion? Did I hear fashion?’ Now the Fairy Goosemother appeared, and when she heard that the prince designed shoes she knew there was a business opportunity in it for her. With Chickarella’s dresses, the Goosemother’s “eggsessories” and the prince’s footwear, they launched a label. “Their first show in New Yolk was an eggstravaganza. And together, three friends worked happily ever after.”
Chickarella (2005) by Mary Jane and Herm Auch. New York: Holiday House
Notes: This book features chicken models, dressed in real clothing and photographed. So much fun!
Montessori Connection 6-9: Zoology/Aves/Gallus domesticus/chickens
1. Read the book and have a good laugh.
2. Learn about real chickens and how to raise them for fresh eggs at home:4-H Guide to Raising Chickens
9-12: Read stories and learn what "chicken soup for the soul" means:Chicken Soup for the Kid's Soul: 101 Stories of Courage, Hope and Laughter (Chicken Soup for the Soul).