Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Love and Roast Chicken by Barbara Knutson

Story Summary
Love and Roast Chicken: A Trickster Tale from the Andes Mountains (ages 6-10) is a pleasurable read.  Cuy, a cunning guinea pig, is cornered by a hungry fox who wants to eat him for dinner!  The gullible fox is tricked into believing the sky is falling (similar to Chicken Little), so Cuy gets away while fox holds up the sky (a rock).   When Cuy is caught again, he convinces the fox to hide in a den to await the fiery end of the world.  The guinea pig “helps” him out by also putting rocks at the entrance for the fox’s protection.  Meanwhile, Cuy enjoys a bonfire in front of the cave.   Next, he disguises himself as a field hand, so he is protected and fed by the farmer.  Happily, the guinea pig enjoys an endless supply of alfalfa on the farm.   When the farmer notices that his alfalfa is missing, he sets a trap—a clay figure with sticky sap on it.   Cuy gets caught in the sticky figure (similar to Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby).  The farmer finds him and ties him to a tree to await his roasting fate.  When the fox comes along to steal a chicken, he is pleased to see Cuy already “wrapped up” for him.   Even when all hope seems lost, Cuy pulls one last fast one on the fox...
Why I Chose It
Love and Roast Chicken is a great addition to a study of trickster tales or multicultural stories.  The wood block illustrations in neutral earth tones compliment the story well and reflect the landscape of the culture in the Andes.   Further cultural charm is added with the occasional Spanish and Quechea words (defined in the glossary at the back of the book).  This narrative has charming characters and humorous tricks, sure to be a favorite of people of all ages.
Extension Activities and Lesson Plan Ideas


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