Cover image for The silly chicken
The silly chicken
Shah, Idries, 1924-1996.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Hoopoe Books, 2000.
Physical Description:
31 pages ; 30 cm
A Sufi teaching tale of a chicken that has learned to speak as people do and spreads an alarming warning, which causes the townspeople to panic without first considering the messenger.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.0 0.5 68566.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PZ8.S336 SI 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales
PZ8.S336 SI 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PZ8.S336 SI 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales
PZ8.S336 SI 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales

On Order



A humorous tale about a chicken who learns to speak as we do. What follows will intrigue young children and, at the same time, alert them in a very amusing way to the dangers of being too gullible. The wonderful artwork by illustrator/animator Jeff Jackson expresses his unique ability to create a lively and amusing world, rich in color, and one in which anything can happen.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-8. People listen in awe as Silly Chicken struts through his dusty village mumbling, "Tuck-tuck-tuck-tuck-tuck." "What does it mean?" they whisper. No one seems to know. When a clever man teaches the bird to speak, Silly Chicken squawks, "The earth is going to swallow us up!" The villagers scatter, desperate to escape certain doom, before realizing the danger is only a hoax. "How could you tell us such a thing?" they ask Silly Chicken (who is identified as "he" but looks like a hen in the pictures). "How could you believe me? he quickly replies. "You think a chicken knows something just because he can talk?" Gender issues in the art aside, this quirky, good-natured fable, with bright, aptly comical pictures, ably illustrates the maxim, It's important not to believe everything you hear. --Kelly Milner Halls

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 2-Set in the Middle East, Shah's retelling of a Sufi story sends a gentle message to readers: just because someone says it's so, does not make it so. A silly chicken that a wise man teaches to speak tells the people, "The earth is going to swallow us up!" After several panicked and humorously illustrated attempts to escape the earth, the people return to their village and question the chicken about where he got his information. Of course, he hasn't the slightest idea what he's talking about. With its simple language and repeating phrases, the story begs to be told, and Jackson's colorful pastel illustrations lend a zany accent to the antics. It's a classic case of "the sky is falling" for an ancient culture, and it still has the ring of truth today.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.