Title: Chicken Man
Author and Illustrator: Michelle Edwards
Publisher: Junebug Books
Concepts: jobs, human and natural resources, tradeoffs, productivity
Review: Rody, who lived and worked on an Israeli kibbutz, had such a happy demeanor it proved to be contagious. When he worked in the chicken coop, his cheerful ways and constant singing caused the chickens to lay more eggs. Others on the kibbutz noticed the productive chickens and pleasant atmosphere, so they assumed that tending the chicken coop must be the best job in the work rotation.
Yet Rody had an equally positive attitude and spirited singing repertoire while washing and ironing the laundry, thus making that job appear more desirable to the other kibbutz residents. Although Rody did not seem to mind rotating through the job list, the chickens certainly minded and ceased laying eggs. How would they see their Chicken Man again if everyone else kept taking his job?
Michelle Edwards' beloved tale, reissued in this new edition with an updated note about kibbutz life, makes an excellent vehicle for talking to children about a number of concepts in economics, including jobs, human and natural resources, interdependence, and productivity. Children will gain exposure to some serious lessons while enjoying an amusing story and lively art work.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children