Leigh Hobbs Review: Mr Chicken Goes to Paris

Leigh Hobbs Review: Mr Chicken is a great yellow ogre, or monster who has sparkling manners and a charming nature.

Mr Chicken's friend Yvette invites him to Paris, which is an invitation Mr Chicken cannot refuse, as he loves to travel to new and interesting places.

Once in Paris, Mr Chicken tours the major landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the palace of Versaille, the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre. Mr Chicken gets to practice his smattering of french words and the text is filled with 'magnifique', 'merci', 'oui' and 'superbe'.

Mr Chicken's manners are always impeccable and his little friend Yvette, a French child, clearly loves him. Other tourists and French citizens, however, don't quite know what to make of Mr Chicken. Being bright yellow, big and quite fearsome looking, Mr Chicken's appearance can be deceptive. He is at heart though a charming and sociable...er, being.

Leigh Hobbs Review cont...

The illustrations are a key component of the story's humour. The text announces events in a matter of fact way but the images add extra layers of meaning and humour. For instance, 'Mr Chicken flew to France. Paris to be exact....economy.' (excerpt from Mr Chicken goes to Paris, by Leigh Hobbs) The word 'economy' is directly beneath an illustration which reveals Mr Chicken seated between two unfortunate fellow travellers, who are shunted to the outside margins of their seats by Mr Chicken's great bulk.

Any traveller on a long flight, who has been seated next to a traveller of substantial girth can relate to the expressions on the faces of Mr Chicken's companions.

Mr Chicken goes to Paris is a marvellous book to use with young children (grades prep to grade 2) as a language teaching tool. The themes of being out of place (a square peg in a round hole) and travelling to different places in the world can be explored. Also, a fun activity to explore,are the smattering of French words and phrases in the text and compare and contrast the similarities and differences to the English language equivalents.

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