Review of Émile Jadoul’s Good Night, Chickie
Rachel Bomberger is the copywriter at Eerdmans. She loves reading, writing, and bedtime stories.
As copywriter at Eerdmans, I read at least part of every book we publish. Some books (especially those I choose to review on EerdWord) I read cover-to-cover. Some books (a rare few) I read cover-to-cover, over and over and over again.
Good Night, Chickie is one of these last. From the first day I brought it home, I knew I was destined to have a long-term relationship with Émile Jadoul’s adorable (if slightly paranoid) Chickie and his (her?) calmly reassuring Mother Hen.
When it debuted in our pre-bed story time lineup, my four-year-old son made me read the book three times in a row. After he went to bed that night, I kept hearing occasional outbursts of “Mother Hen, Mother Hen, are you there?” for almost half an hour after I tucked him in.
Since then, Good Night, Chickie has become a full-fledged member of our bedtime canon, sharing full honors with Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon, Sandra Boynton’s The Going to Bed Book, Shirley Hughes’s Dogger, and Jon Sciescka’s The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales.
This book has become so dear to me that when I began contributing to EerdWord I knew almost from the beginning that I would one day feature Good Night, Chickie in a review. Still, as the time drew near and I started planning the article, I felt that something important was missing. I found myself longing for some way to let my three children collaborate on the review — preposterous, of course, since one of them doesn’t yet type, one doesn’t write at all, and one doesn’t even talk.
But this is 2011! When (recently) has a lack of literacy or verbal skill ever stopped anyone from contributing to an online discussion?
Here, then, is my review: raw footage of a recent family reading of Good Night, Chickie, completely undirected and unedited except for my husband filming from across the room. (Only Miss Yo-Yo-the-Ever-Observant even realized what he was doing.) The kids’ involvement and engagement with both the story and the characters speaks volumes about the book in a way that my plain old words on a page never could.
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