And recently we attended the CBCA Victorian judges talk by Suzanne Thwaites who gave a terrific insight into the judging process and warmly enthused about all the books on the CBCA short-list. She also noted that in the course of the judging process (which involves reading a tremendous quantity of books - we are in awe, truly) that 2009 was the year of poultry publishing, with ducks, roosters and chooks regularly featuring in their reading pile. And who doesn't love a duck?
The books that tickled the judges fancy are Bear & Chook by the Sea by Lisa Shanahan & Emma Quay and Kip by Christina Booth (both short-listed, Early Childhood), A Chook called Harry by Phillip Gwyn & Terry Denton (Notable, Younger Readers), Wendy by Gus Gordon (Notable, Picture book) and, of course the magnifiique Mr Chicken Goes to Paris by Leigh Hobbs (short-listed, Picture Book).
So, embracing the spirit, herewith we present the beginnings of a list of a fine tradition of books or characters that suggest that poultry is indeed perennially popular:
It's Useful to Have a Duck by IsolDon't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo WillemsBear & Chook by Lisa Shanahan & Emma QuayThe Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack & Kurt WieseBrian Banana Duck Sunshine Yellow by Chris MckimmieThe Seven Diving Ducks by Margaret FriskeyUhu* by Annette Rosemary Macarthur-OnslowThe Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck by Beatrix PotterHenny Penny (and friends)The Little Red HenMother GooseDonald Duck, Foghorn Leghorn & Camilla the Chicken**
And we are rather enamoured of Doug Savage's editor-chicken tackling Hamlet on Savage Chickens. A chicken engaged in a task that is relevant to our interests. Why is it relevant to our interests, you ask. Hasn't Hamlet already been edited, you suggest.
And we would refer you to the genius of one Nicki Greenberg who, for some time, has been working on a stunning graphic novel edition of Hamlet - coming soon to a bookshelf near you. When we say soon, here, we mean... October. Trust us, October will be here before you know it. But just to whet your appetite...
* We're not certain that an owl qualifies as domestic fowl... but we are willing to relax the rules a little. We promise we would never consider serving him up for dinner...
** Mr Duck, Mr Leghorn and Ms The Chicken are clearly film stars rather than book stars. We refer you to rule-relaxation note above.
*** Definitely literary chickens.