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The Problem With Chickens

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  117 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
The ladies of Iceland have a problem: the birds lay their eggs in nooks on the sides of steep cliffs, so the ladies have a very difficult time getting any of the eggs for baking. They go to town to buy chickens to lay eggs for them instead. For a while, everyone is happy: there are plenty of eggs to bake plenty of yummy things. But the ladies' problems are far from solved, ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 26th 2005 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Community Reviews

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Apr 01, 2011 Kathryn rated it liked it
What an odd, imaginative, slightly kooky little book. I'm not quite sure what to make of it and dithered between being amused and bemused as I read it. Cool that it's set in Iceland, though; not many picture books are!
Bruce McMillan spends his summers in Iceland where this book is set, an amusing story about, well, a problem with chickens. The women in this village love to cook and the birds nest too high on the rocks to gather the eggs. Their solutions is to purchase chickens, which goes well until the companionship is so good that the chickens begin to mimic the women’s lives and forget to be chickens, thus again, no eggs. The solution to this unique problem is cleverly worked out, more whimsy than truth. T ...more
Emily Kazmierski
Aug 05, 2015 Emily Kazmierski rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
I had to check this out from the library because we are considering getting chickens and it looked hilarious. It was really sweet. The art was beautiful, and I especially enjoyed the art on the page when the chickens are creeping on the ladies drinking tea. That was especially funny. The store was cute as well.
Apr 28, 2016 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Recommended to Stephanie by: Friðrik Guðmundsson
Another adorable book by Bruce McMillan and Gunella.
I honestly think it is the illustrations that make these books so much fun. The story line is quirky but cute. The illustrations are so much fun and full of vibrancy.
I love how these women in Iceland problem solve. Not in the traditional sense - but outside the box. Therein lies the genius of these books.
Feb 21, 2008 Jennifer rated it liked it
Recommended to Jennifer by: Bulletin
Shelves: kids, picturebook, funny
The story here is problematic for me. This is a literay folktale, meaning that the author wrote it in a folktale style, and I know that foiktales often call for suspension of disbelief. However, to make this suspension work, it is important to have internal logic and that's where the story fails for me. There are already birds on the cliff that lay eggs, why go to the trouble to get the chickens there as well? Why do the chickens begin acting like ladies in the first place? The illustrations are ...more
Kind of a quirky folk-like tale. The Icelandic village ladies can't get eggs (from native birds--Puffins?) from the cliffs so they buy some chickens. This solves the egg problem in the village until the chickens start acting like women--singing, having tea, parties, etc. The women start to exercise and the chickens follow suit. The ladies tell the chickens they're birds and the chickens fly to the cliffs and resume laying eggs. However now the women, from their exercising, are now strong enough ...more
Jul 16, 2014 Kaethe rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-aloud
these pictures disturb me; apparently I'm not a big fan of Icelandic folk art.

And I know I'm not a big fan of chickens, except cooked ones.
Amy Steiner
My kids loved this book! They giggled throughout! Very cute story!
Camille Tesch
Sep 26, 2016 Camille Tesch marked it as to-read
Iceland ages 4-6
Liz Todd
Jun 16, 2016 Liz Todd rated it it was ok
Apr 23, 2013 Kartiá rated it liked it
Shelves: folktales
This folktale relates a problem a small villiage in Iceland faces and how they fixed it. They loved to have eggs, but the brids were often on the cliffs of mountains. So they went to purchase chickens. The chickens began to take on the persona of the humans, causing noothing to get done. When the women are fed up with the chickens they devise a plan to solve their problem. This fun book can give children a quick laugh and casuse them to think of how they might solve problems.
Jay Bushara
Feb 13, 2013 Jay Bushara rated it really liked it
Is this the sort of fable they tell in Iceland? Where chickens start acting like the ladies who farm them - too fussy, too clever, too soft - and then everyone commits themselves to a little yoga, some free weights, until the chickens remember what it is to be birds - flying and laying eggs - and the ladies learn how to climb mountains, and get out more? What does this tell us? About ourselves? Probably nothing. But those Icelanders sure know how to have a good time.
Michelle Knudsen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ellen Brandt
May 04, 2010 Ellen Brandt rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This worked quite well with a Grade 2 ESL class who are studying world geography. Although this is clearly a work of fiction, it is set in a real country (Iceland). I asked the students to search the illustrations for clues about Iceland geography. We then verified the information by checking a nonfiction source
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Feb 03, 2008 Krista the Krazy Kataloguer rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Saara--what do you think of this?
According to the dust jacket, this is McMillan's 7th book on/set in Iceland. This was a strange tale about chickens acting like people and needing to be taught how to be birds again. I didn't like the fact that all the "ladies" were depicted as fat. I don't think they're all fat in Iceland!
Ebony Hargett
Lovely illustrated childrens book. This story clearly has a problem and clever solution. I would use this book to teach students how to introduce a problem and solution in writing stories. This book would make a great example to model for students.
Sandra Stiles
Jul 02, 2009 Sandra Stiles rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book
this is based on an Icelandic tale. The story is about a village of women who buy checkens for their eggs. This is great until the chickens begin to act like humans doing what they do. The women find a creative solution that has an added benefit to it.
Huh? An odd sort of tale. Chickens start acting like ladies, until the ladies come up with a plan to thwart their new-found activity.

Used for "Cheep, Oink, and Moo: Chicken, Pork, and Beef" storytime-April, 2010.
Diana Pettis
Jul 22, 2011 Diana Pettis rated it really liked it
Pictures are great in this book. I think it would be a great read aloud because the old ladies in the story learn a very important lesson (K-2). Plus Bruce McMillan is a Maine author.
Sep 11, 2014 Tamara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun and with whimsical illustrations. I would give this as a present to a younger child. :)
Jul 25, 2016 Yarb rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids, kids-books
Quirky, audacious artwork elevates this amusing work of chick-fic to classic status.
Apr 18, 2011 Marilyn rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
The premise is so much more cute than the conclusion. You finish and think--That's it?
Sep 12, 2008 Emily rated it liked it
Shelves: kiddy-books
funny little story. but also confusing... but all around pretty cute
Dec 14, 2008 Samantha rated it liked it
This is a weird little book, but I like it.
Rachel marked it as to-read
Sep 22, 2016
Shannon rated it really liked it
Sep 21, 2016
Alicia marked it as to-read
Sep 18, 2016
Isaac marked it as to-read
Sep 11, 2016
Jameson Brotz
Jameson Brotz rated it liked it
Aug 27, 2016
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