Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken

by Kate DiCamillo,
illustrated by Harry Bliss

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Louise is not your ordinary chicken. She is a great adventurer. She tries new things, isn’t afraid even when things look scary and thinks things through clearly. When she remembers her hen house fondly, she knows it is time to go home. She’s never boastful and sleeps very soundly in her warm, dry nest. None of the hens guess that she was on a pirate ship, did a high-wire act in the circus and found herself in a cage in an Arabian bazaar.


As she helps the other chickens escape that cage, she decides that when she gets home, she will tell her henhouse mates of her amazing adventures. They all feel the thrill of her journey and, when they settle in their nests, they sleep as if they, too, have been somewhere.

The power of storytelling lives vividly as Louise relates her experiences to all the chickens who stay safely at home. Her turning point is a very quiet one, an implied ah-ha moment. When she is imprisoned, her dreams help her find her way. She then knows how to help others and she tells her stories to them. The reader, too, is caught up in Louise’s brushes with death and relaxes every time she manages to get home again, sharing her delight at being home.

Louise is such a strong character that a possible reading activity could be for readers to make up other adventures for her. Because of the third grade reading level, Louise would make a good read aloud first and then let the students have guided reading practice with her after that.

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  • LouiseTITLE: Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken
  • AUTHOR: Kate DiCamillo
  • ILLUSTRATOR: Harry Bliss
  • PUBLISHER: 2008, Joanna Cotter/HarperCollins, 48 pages, fantasy
  • REVIEWER: Risa Brown
  • ISBN: 978-0-075555-3


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