by Bruce McMillan
illustrated by Gunnella
There's nothing quite like exercising chickens to draw us into a story, and that's only the beginning of the appeal of The Problem With Chickens! The fine feathered fowl in this delightful book have personality plus. When the ladies make a simple plan to get more eggs, these precocious chickens give the ladies more than they bargained for.
Not only do the illustrations induce giggles galore, but they also depict the traditional culture of the book's Icelandic setting. Enjoy a trip to the Icelandic countryside and discover how these imaginative ladies solve The Problem With Chickens!
In this Issue
If there's anything better than exercising chickens, its dressing up like one and doing the exercising yourself! Make your own chicken costume with a few simple supplies, then have lots of fun acting out the story, doing the chicken dance, and whatever other feathered hijinks come to mind.
Paper Plate Chicken Hat, Mask, and Wings
- White paper plates (at least 5)
- Black marker
- Red crayon
- White yarn
- Hole punch
- Red paper
- Draw four oblong loops on one side of the paper plate, stopping at the line of the inside circle (as shown in the picture). Continue tracing around the inside circle.
- Cut around each oblong shape, leaving the flat end connected, and continue cutting around the circle.
- Color the oblong shapes red. Bend upward to form the chicken's comb.
- Cut one paper plate in half (save the second half for making the wings).
- Cut a square from red construction paper, approximately 5 by 5 inches. Fold square in half and draw half a heart, starting and stopping at the fold line. Cut out heart.
- Glue the point of the heart to the paper plate half as shown. Let dry.
- Approximate where the eyes go and cut holes. Hint: Use a pencil to poke a hole through the paper plate to make an opening for the scissors.
- Using a hole punch, punch a hole at each corner. Tie a length of yarn through each hole. These will be used to hold the mask in place on your young reader.
- Cut a paper plate in half. Cut the reserved paper plate half from the mask in two, so you have two quarters of a paper plate.
- Pair a large piece and a small piece together.
- Place a quarter piece on top of a half piece, matching flat and rounded sides. Staple flat and rounded edges together, leaving the middle open.
- Repeat with the other pieces, making sure to staple the quarter piece on the opposite side of the half piece. This makes a wing for the left and right hand.
Before the chickens starts causing problems, the ladies of the village use their eggs to make delicious cakes. Take inspiration from the ladies and their blueberry-picking chickens and make a Blueberry Buckle Cake. Young readers will enjoy measuring and mixing this easy snack cake made with whole wheat flour and a cinnamon-oat streusel.
Blueberry Buckle Cake
Adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking.
Make a 9 by 9 inch cake.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (graham flour)
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups (10 ounces or 1 pint) blueberries
- Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 9x9 inch baking pan.
- Make the streusel: Stir together the sugar, flours, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the butter and stir (hands work well!) until evenly distributed and you have medium-sized crumbs.
- Make the cake: In a medium bowl, stir together the flours, baking powder, and salt until well combined.
- Combine the butter and sugar together (by hand or mixer) until fluffy. Mix in the eggs one at a time. Stir in one half of the dry ingredients, then the milk and vanilla, then the remaining dry ingredients. Fold in the blueberries.
- Pour the cake batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly with the streusel mixture. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan, or a cooling rack.
More fun with blueberries:
- Blueberries for Sal
- Blueberry Yogurt Pops
- Blueberry Paint
- Bewitching Blueberry Pancakes
- Red, White, and Blue Cornbread
- Magic Blueberry Art
Get out your globe or map of the United States and show your young reader how to find Iceland. Identify where you live as well and where Iceland is in relation to your home.
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