Chicken Soup

by Jean van Leeuwen, illustrated by David Gavril

What happens when you’re a chicken and Mrs. Farmer is making chicken soup? Find out in this offbeat picture book of barnyard misunderstandings.

Rumor has it that Mrs. Farmer is making Chicken Soup, so the chickens are on the run—except for poor Little Chickie who has a bad cold. No matter where she hides—the hayloft, a milk pail, or the sheep pen—her sneezes give her away. She is sure to be found soon!

The unbeatable mother-son team of award-winning and best selling author Jean Van Leeuwen, whose Oliver and Amanda Pig books are a children’s literature staple, and her son, up-and-coming author & illustrator David Gavril, have created a charming picture book very much in the spirit of Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type.


“This simple, just-scary-enough story will appeal to preschoolers with its repetition and bright, childlike pen and watercolor illustrations. The worried expressions on the faces of Gavril’s sheep, pigs, and chickens only enhance the tension, and the climax comes down in a happy ending like a good tickle chase. A fun read-aloud for farmyard storytimes.” —School Library Journal

“Uncluttered cartoon drawings . . . humorously portray the chickens scurrying from each hiding place. The fast moving, tension-filled plot combined with the variety of animal sounds in the text will make this a popular read-aloud.” —Booklist

“A marvel of suspense and silliness . . . A kid-pleasing read-aloud.” —Publishers Weekly

Penelope Nuthatch and the Big Surprise

by David Gavril
Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2006

A funny lesson about sulking, set against an exciting backdrop—a water park with some very unusual rides!

With humor and a light touch, this story shows that sometimes a bad attitude is the only obstacle to a good time. Silly Penelope Nuthatch receives a letter from her friend Luther Crow promising an unforgettable surprise outing. When she sees a rave newspaper review of Swan Lake, calling it “unforgettable,” she assumes Luther is taking her to the ballet. Unfortunately for Penelope, her surprise is a trip to the splashy, sticky, sweaty water park. Pouting and drooping, she sulks her way through the park until she realizes that the right attitude, not location, is the difference between a bad and a good day.
Children will delight in the wildly populated world of Penelope Nuthatch, filled with animals of all shapes and sizes, while recognizing the ups and downs of the feather-headed heroine’s day.


“The clean-lined, bright pictures highlight the action and humor… The well-paced text will read aloud well, and many young children will recognize Penelope’s initial struggle to find fun in a seemingly unpleasant surprise.” —Booklist

“[T]he message of Penelope’s… ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’ attitude sails across.” —Publishers Weekly

“The colorful cartoon illustrations are populated with a variety of animals similar in style to James Marshall’s work. Children will find much humor in the details… Readers will appreciate the story’s message that life is full of surprises—some more fun than others—and that it’s how one deals with them that matters.” —School Library Journal

Hector and the Noisy Neighbor

by David Gavril
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2004

Hector loves peace and quiet, but his new neighbor, Rutherford, is always loud. Rutherford lifts weights in his apartment, plays the trombone, and moves his furniture at all hours. Hector doesn’t want to be rude, but he feels like screaming! How can he tell Rutherford to quiet down without hurting his feelings?With charming characters and plenty of visual humor, David Gavril’s witty story reminds us that when dealing with a noisy neighbor, honesty is always the best policy.


“Problem solving and cooperation are at the heart of this debut effort… [A] romp that lends itself to discussions of neighborliness, consideration, and effective communication.”  —School Library Journal

“[An] amiable urban tale of compromise… Gavril’s pleasingly unpolished, humorous watercolor cartoons evoke sympathy…”  —Publishers Weekly

“Packed with humor and good will…this charming little book teaches students why it is important to be honest with friends as well as practice good manners.” —Children’s Literature

Picked in: Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2004, Bank Street College of Education

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