Chick and Brain, Book 2: Egg or Eyeball

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Cece Bell follows her Geisel Honor Book, Chick and Brain: Smell My Foot, with an even wackier story for beginning readers, sure to elicit eye-rolling squeals of delight.

Oh! Oh, oh, oh! Look what Brain found. Chick and Spot say it is an egg. Brain says it is an eyeball. Is it an egg or an eyeball? The inimitable Cece Bell is back with a second hilarious primer on good manners gone awry and arguments run amok. Perfectly pitched to kids just learning to read and loaded with verbal and visual comedy, this offbeat graphic story by a master of the genre builds to an exhilaratingly absurd surprise ending.---from the publisher

72 pages 978-1536204391 Ages 4-8

Keywords: humor, friends, manners, graphic story, independent reader, 4 year old, 5 year old, 6 year old, 7 year old, 8 year old, part of a series, reluctant reader

Editor's note: When I was growing up and learning to read, we were handed the Dick and Jane books. This generation of young readers gets the Chick and Brain books. (Hear the rhyme?) Zany and fun they are a great series for independent readers. Highly visual. Lots of illustrations helping to tell the story.

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Richie’s Picks: CHICK AND BRAIN: EGG OR EYEBALL? by Cece Bell, Candlewick, March 2020, 72p., ISBN: 978-1-5362-0439-1

“Everybody plays the fool sometime

There’s no exception to the rule

Listen baby, it may be factual, may be cruel

I ain’t lyin’, everybody plays the fool”

-- J.R. Bailey, Rudy Clark, & Ken Williams (1972)

I can’t help it. Working with preschoolers all those years made me obsessive about washing hands. And not just my own. My kids, grandkids, friends, partner, and everybody else’s kids and grandkids repeatedly get stopped before touching anything. “Did you wash your hands?” And, in my book, an hour ago doesn’t count. I often get grief for it. My partner is the most pointed in her response to my unwelcome queries. (But she knows I’m right, and so she heads for the sink.)

It was far worse for Ignaz Semmelweis (1818-1865), the Hungarian scientist who proposed that doctors wash their hands with a chlorinated lime solution between doing autopsies and delivering babies. The doctors mocked him, for he could provide no scientific justification. Eventually, he was sent to an asylum where he was beaten by guards and died.

The point is, sometimes you know you’re right. You may be in the minority, you may take some serious grief but, hopefully, the truth will soon surface.

Which leads me to the second hysterical, graphic easy reader saga of Chick and Brain (rhymes with Dick and Jane). Brain discovers a white, egg-shaped object. He declares it an eyeball. Chick mocks him, declaring it an egg:

(Chick)

“An egg is a baby chicken.

An egg comes out of a lady chicken.”

(Brain)

“Egg egg e--say WHAT?”

(Chick)

“This is an egg!

It is a baby chicken.

It came out of a lady chicken.”

(Brain)

“No way! That is an eyeball!”

(Chick)

“It is an EGG!”

“I know because I was an egg.

I am a baby chicken

And I came out of a lady chicken.”

(Brain)

“You did? Which end?”

(Chick)

“Ha. Ha.”

Of course, in the end, after a variety of critters join the debate, Brain is vindicated when the grateful creature (giant monster bunny?) retrieves his eyeball.

As with CHICK AND BRAIN: SMELL MY FOOT!, Cece Bell employs engaging wordplay and there’s running slapstick regarding who is going to eat who or what for lunch.

(Giant monster bunny)

“I CAN SEE! NO EAT FRIENDS!”

I just hope that Ms. Bell has some more ideas for this comedic duo and their critter buddies.

Richie Partington, MLIS, California USA

See more of Richie's Picks http://richiespicks. pbworks.com

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