The first thing that will strike you when you open this picture book is the beautiful illustrations. Each animal is so alive it feels as though you could stroke their fur. Little Chickalina, who is a baby chick, is adorable and portrays expressive gestures. It is easy to tell her emotions without even reading the words. When Chickalina cries, she cries with her entire body. The horse looks like he is racing right off the page. The donkey is hilarious. The goat is filled with vigor and power.
This story is about Chickalina trying to get some ginger for her ill father’s tea. The rooster has woken up with a cough and sore throat. Chickalina approaches various farm animals, all of whom are kind and generous, but none can provide the ginger. Instead she is given a variety of herbs which are devoured by the pig. This is too much for the tired and hungry chick. Chickalina bursts into tears and then is aided by the duck who gives her ginger. She gives it to Mother Hen and finally has breakfast. The ginger helps Papa who crows loudly and wakes the human. Cleverly, Panse substitutes flowers in the speech bubble for curses when the farmer is woken.
The book ends with labelled illustrations of the herbs and a challenge for the reader to find them in the previous pages.
The story is delightful although I think the text could have been trimmed. Some pages are unnecessarily wordy and slow down the pace. Children will engage in following Chickalina’s quest, wondering what she will be given next and if anyone will be able to provide the ginger. Humour in the illustrations and story line are sprinkled throughout keeping the picture book suspenseful but light-hearted.
The book opens the way for a discussion about natural remedies. Readers may want to research the medicinal uses of the other herbs. Parents will be curious about such plants as butterfly weed as well.
An enjoyable book for young children and their families.
A free ebook copy was given to me for a non-reciprocal review.