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Annotation: Sallie's class is supposed to be raising chicks as a science project, but although Argus, the large, green, scaly creature that hatches from her egg, causes all sorts of trouble she worries about him when he disappears.
Catalog Number: #5261511
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition Date: 2011
Illustrator: Wesson, Andrea,
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-7636-3790-4
ISBN 13: 978-0-7636-3790-3
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2010038721
Dimensions: 25 x 28 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
When Mrs. Henshaw hands out eggs for her students to hatch in their desktop incubators, Sally points out that hers looks different. The teacher replies, "Don't be difficult." Determined to complete the science project, she overlooks the obvious in the events that follow: a green, dragonlike creature (Argus) hatches from Sally's egg; grows to an enormous size; and threatens to eat the "other chicks" and even the kids themselves. When Argus gets lost, though, the whole class goes to the rescue. With deadpan storytelling that serves the humor well, the writing concentrates on classroom activities and Sally's reactions. Argus' true identity goes unmentioned in the text but is unmistakable in the pictures. Children are left to draw their own conclusions. With clean lines and muted colors, the ink-and-watercolor artwork illustrates the story in a most engaging way, magnifying the humor but keeping the absurdity in check. This pleasing picture book is fun for reading aloud.
Horn Book
Following the 2010 Gulf Coast oil spill, eleven-year-old aspiring ornithologist and "bird artist" Bouler created paintings in exchange for donations to the clean-up effort. Here she shares her love of birding, her own conservation efforts, and ways for others to take action. Though content is a little sparse, the book's message and design--including impressive original sketches--will successfully reach young environmentalists. Websites.
Kirkus Reviews
A class science project raising baby chicks becomes a memorable lesson in tolerance when one "chick" is decidedly different from the others. As Mrs. Henshaw distributes small, buff-colored chicken eggs, Sally notices that her large green egg with yellow spots "looks different." After her egg hatches into a scaly green critter with big yellow eyes, Sally's classmates respond with "Ewww." Calmly, Mrs. Henshaw replies: "Some chicks just, uh, look different." Sally names her "chick" Argus and finds him a handful, especially when he tries to eat the other chicks as well as her classmates. She wishes she had a cute fluffy chick until Argus disappears and she misses him—a lot. Precise, detailed ink-and-watercolor illustrations portray Argus as a wild and wily but endearing green dragon whose very presence in the classroom adds a surprising, hilarious dimension to the text, stretching the concept of "different" to the limit. Kudos to unflappable Mrs. Henshaw, Knudsen and Wesson. With his expressive ears, wings and tail, naughty Argus will capture attention and hearts. (Picture book. 4-7)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3&12; It's science project time in Mrs. Henshaw's class, and when all the eggs have been distributed for placement in the desktop incubators, Sally notices that hers is different. "Don't be difficult," responds her teacher. This mantra is uttered to children and adults alike whenever an objective observation threatens to alter her universe. All of the other chicks are yellow, fluffy, and diminutive; Sally's is green, scaly, and off all growth charts. Argus and Sally are banished to a remote corner of the playground, after the dragon's "pecking" causes dangerous craters. When he disappears, Sally "waited to feel relieved. She waited to feel happy." In the ensuing scenes, Knudsen's heroine grapples with her conscience, her emotions, and the notion of being different, emerging with a newfound peace and strength when the lost is found. Wesson's lanky, gawky watercolor and ink caricatures capture the fragility of childhood, and the understated telling provides space to grapple with one's own navigation through episodes of unenlightened authority. Children will relate to the drama while enjoying the humor found in both text and illustration. The compositions are full of the clutter and chaos one might expect with chicks and a dragon residing there. For another tale concerning the depth of youthful compassion and intelligence in contrast to their classroom leaders, try Paul Fleischman's The Dunderheads (Candlewick, 2009).&12; Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
Starred Review for Publishers Weekly
Sally's green, polka-dotted science project egg should have produced a fluffy chick like her classmates' eggs, but it cracks open to reveal a dragon instead; she names him Argus. She needs three pieces of paper for his growth chart, and while her classmates' chicks peck sweetly in the yard, Argus chews ""a giant hole in the ground with his teeth."" Yet when Argus disappears, Sally grows worried. Her peppery science teacher, Mrs. Henshaw, becomes an unexpected ally (her orange traffic cones and brisk ""Don't be difficult"" are the story's leitmotifs); in the end, Sally grows to love having a companion that's not like anyone else's. Wesson's (the Evangeline Mudd books) watercolors of the tubby Argus are wonderfully goofy, especially when he's galumphing incongruously through Sally's classroom (""He stopped trying to eat the other chicks. He started trying to eat the children instead""). Knudsen (Library Lion) never overplays her hand, but lets the story's laughs unfold naturally from the characters and circumstances. Her grasp of the life of the elementary school classroom is spot-on; this should become another favorite. Ages 4%E2%80%937. (Feb.)
Word Count: 902
Reading Level: 3.0
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.0 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 142834 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:1.4 / points:1.0 / quiz:Q53423
Lexile: AD520L

From the author of the best-selling Library Lion comes a funny, heartfelt picture book about embracing the unusual, green scales and all.

Sally’s class is doing a science project, and Mrs. Henshaw is handing out eggs for hatching. “Mine looks different,” says Sally. “Don’t be difficult,” says Mrs. Henshaw. When Sally’s egg cracks, what emerges is something green and scaly with big yellow eyes. Argus isn't like the other chicks;he isn’t small and fuzzy, and he doesn’t like seeds and bugs. He’d rather eat other chicks (or children, as he grows even bigger). Watching the other kids playing with their identical chicks, Sally wonders, would she be better off without Argus? With sly humor and a subtle tug at the heartstrings, Michelle Knudsen hatches a story about learning not just to tolerate, but to love what is different, while Andrea Wesson’s endearing illustrations bring the tale to life with quirky details and offbeat charm.

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