Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Review - All by Myself!

All By Myself!
by Géraldine Collet
illustrated by Coralie Saudo
Date: 2010
Publisher: Owlkids Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

When five hens leave the coop to go pecking for grain, five little chicks are left all by themselves for the day. At first the chicks — Ivan, Lily, Leonard, Shirley, and narrator Anthony — cry. Then, they get scared: what if their moms never come home? What if a fox finds them? The chicks must work together to brave the day without their mothers.

When the hens return to the coop with delicious grain at lunchtime, all but one of the chicks — Anthony — fall upon the food ravenously. Bolstered by his triumphant day at home alone, Anthony pauses to declare that he is ready to eat all by himself for the first time.

A beloved book in its original French, All By Myself! is a plucky tale about cooperation and independence. Told in part through mixed media illustrations and energetic text, this picture book will inspire and entertain young readers as they approach their own hallmarks of growing up.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Something was definitely lost in translation. I thought, at first, that this was going to be a book about independence. But it's so scattered in its message that I'm not really sure what it's about.

The mother hens go out to get grain, and their five chicks stay behind and fret. They worry that their mothers won't come back. They worry about foxes. They talk about what they'd do if a fox came to the henhouse. Then the hens return with grain and the chicks all eat. Anthony's mother asks if he wants some help eating, and he refuses, saying he wants to do it all by himself.

The pictures are sort of cute, but I'm struggling with the story. It just doesn't seem very focused. It's also a bit confusing in the beginning, as it's told in the first person by Anthony. But he seems to be privy to the other chicks' private thoughts; he knows what they're thinking and worrying about. (I wonder if this is something that happened during translation. Whatever the case, it doesn't quite work in English.)

I'm afraid this was a miss for me. The story doesn't seem to know what it wants to be about... so I'm not sure how to interpret it.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 1/5

Overall: 2.17 out of 5

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