Something To Squawk About

From the jacket cover:  Matilda is a chicken with attitude:  proud, dignified and scrappy. Aunt Susan sends her to Mae, who loves to take on special projects.  However, Mae’s quick solutions can cause bigger problems, like that time she made Dog glow in the dark. . . 
     Nothing is quick or easy with Matilda.  Mae never had to work so hard before!  Soon new projects grab her attention, and Matilda is neglected.  But when Aunt Susan plans a visit, Mae has to find out what it takes to care for a special chicken like Matilda.

I was so excited to find the book Squawking Matilda by Lisa Horstman because it’s got responsibility written all over it – responsibility to projects, responsibility to promises, and responsibility to pets.  It's about best effort.  It’s also got a caring and compassion piece that might just pull at your heartstrings a bit.  Like a lot of little ones, Mae has a ton of creative ideas, some of which work out, some of which do not.  She also tends, like a lot of US, to get easily distracted and fly from one project to the next, sometimes without completing either one.  So when Matilda comes along, caring for a chicken seems like a worthwhile cause, but Mae gets distracted and Matilda feels forgotten. What will it take to find Matilda when she goes missing to reconnect with that scrappy bird?  And can Mae ultimately win Matilda over and secure her happiness?

Responsibility. It’s a HUGE word with even bigger significance. It’s about choices and consequences. And it’s about stakeholders, people who care about and are affected by our choices.  Who are the stakeholders in Mae’s story? What are some things that Mae does in the story that don’t quite work out?  What does Mae do that does work out well?  Is Mae a good problem solver? How do you know?  Is Mae good at taking responsibility?  At showing responsibility?  Are those two things the same or different?  How did Mae show responsibility toward her projects?  How did she show responsibility toward her promise to Aunt Susan?  How did she show responsibility toward Matilda?  What was that experience like for them?  And what, if anything, does this story have to do with the state-mandated assessments that are just around the corner for many of us?

Want to infuse some meaningful movement?  Dance a celebratory Chicken Dance after you see what happens to make this proud chicken Mae’s “best project yet!”  Then sing this little ditty I wrote with your chore champs using the tune of  
M-i-c  k-e-y  M-o-u-s-e:

When I do things to the best of my ability, I'm
r-e-s  p-o-n  s-i-b-l-e.
I think before I act and I'm reliable, you see.  That's
r-e-s  p-o-n  s-i-b-l-e.
Persevere (clap clap clap), never quit (clap clap clap)
Show up on time, yes you can count on me - 2 - 3 - 4.
Do what I'm supposed to do, stay in control of me. Be
r-e-s  p-o-n  s-i-b-l-e.


  1. I LOVE your song! And I'm putting this book on my wish list. One of these pay days I'm going nuts and B&N!
    Rowdy in First Grade

    1. Thank you, sweet friend. It's worth that portion of your pay check! Also, I'm SO happy that you could make the meet-up; it sounded like SO. MUCH. FUN!!

  2. I am your newest follower, and I am SO glad to see a blog that is dedicated to books about character. That is one of the things I look for when I am deciding on books for read alouds!!

  3. Oh I LOVE chickens! I'm definitely looking for this book. Thanks!
    Grade ONEderful


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