Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Chicken Thief: a case of the Stockholm Syndrome

The Chicken Thief (Stories Without Words)
By Beatrice Rodriguez
Hardcover, 32 pages
Gecko Press, 2009
Ages: 3+

When a fox steals a chicken from her friends, her friends set out to rescue her. They negotiate forests, climb mountains and cross the sea to get her back. But it becomes perfectly clear that chicken and fox love each other, as chicken explains most eloquently—in a book entirely without words.

The first time I read this, I thought "Awww...what a cute story about a fox and a chicken who become friends...How sweet." Then I read it again. After the third time, I realized something just didn't seem right. Wait a minute here...This isn't a story about a fox befriending a chicken, this is a story about a hostage who befriends her captor!

So without any words, this is a story about a fox who kidnaps a chicken, is chased by the chicken's friends...and somewhere along the chase, the chicken begins to play chess, wear sunglasses, and relax with the fox. I can only assume chicken had a psychological melt-down and empathized with the "misunderstood" kidnapper fox.

For a wordless picture book that clearly describes the Stockholm Syndrome, this author is pure genius. For a wordless picture book for children, you may want to think ahead on how you'll be telling the story.

Rated 3 Bites

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