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The Chicken Problem

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BILLY ARONSON'S plays have been produced frequently by Ensemble Studio Theatre and published in five volumes of Best American Short Plays. His writing for the musical theater includes the original concept and additional lyrics for Rent, and the book for the Theatreworks USA musical Click Clack Moo. His TV writing includes scripts for MTV's Beavis & Butt-head, Cartoon Network's Courage the Cowardly Dog, Sesame Workshop's Bert and Ernie's Great Adventures, and Nickelodeon's The Wonder Pets!, for which he was head writer and won an Emmy Award. He is presently working with artist Jennifer Oxley to turn Peg and Cat into a television show. Billy lives in Brooklyn with his wife Lisa Vogel and their offspring, Jake and Anna. JENNIFER OXLEY was born in Hollywood, California, and made her first film at the age of seven. She's the recipient of an Emmy Award for her role as director on Nick Jr.'s Little Bill. Most recently she created the look and animation style for the award-winning television series The Wonder Pets! Jennifer has directed over 15 short films that have been screened at festivals around the world. Her most recent fi


PreS-Gr 1-In this story billed as an introduction to "basic math concepts," Peg and Cat love to "solve problems" and eat pie. Visiting a farm to share their favorite dessert with a resident pig, the child notes four pieces of pie for only three picnickers, so Cat invites a chicken to join them. Problem solved-until Peg realizes that he has inadvertently released 99 other chickens from their coop. Managing to capture only 10 chickens, she has a new problem to solve with the remaining chickens "dashing. splashing. skipping." all over the farm. When her efforts to corral the fowl don't work, Cat points his tail toward a handy pile of wheelbarrows. "In a flash, the chickens dashed into the wheely things! (Chickens really love going for a ride)" and they are successfully wheeled off to their cages. Now, Peg and friends can sit down and enjoy their pie. Brightly colored, cartoon illustrations appeal in their humorous detail; alternating backgrounds of white space or simulated graph paper and various fonts for narrative, speech, and simple addition equations add visual kick. However, the touted math concepts are weak and barely discernible amid the drawn-out, rather arbitrary plot. Stick with more straightforward choices such as Emily Jenkins's Small Medium Large (Star Bright, 2011), Bill Martin, Jr., and Michael Samson's Chicka Chicka 1,2,3 (S & S, 2004), and Donald Crews's Ten Black Dots (Greenwillow, 1986).-Kathleen Finn, St. Francis Xavier School, Winooski, VT (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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