WASHINGTON: Everyone has had a dream. Some people pursue their dreams with encouragement, some have it shot down, and others persevere in the face of opposition. Cheerful Chick has a dream too, and she is determined to see it realized.
Cheerful Chick is an enthusiastic, noisy chick. She is determined to cheer and make everyone else around her join in as well. Her greatest dream is not only to cheer, but to have a barnyard cheering team.
Cheerful Chick practices until she is confident in her abilities – splits, wing stands, and shaking her feathers. Once ready, she sets out through the farm to convince the other animals to join her cheering squad, but along the way she is met with resistance. The adult are busy (with cell phones in hand). Mr. Pig is grumpy, and Mrs. Cow isn’t in the mood. Chick finds hope in Sheep who is encouraged to do flips, right before he falls asleep, and the horses decline to join as well.
Feeling discouraged by the rejection of her dreams by the adults on the farm, Cheerful Chick gives up. She throws off her pom-poms and starts feeling sorry for herself. After some time, she realized that she doesn’t need others to cheer. She made up another routine. This time the other chicks decided to join in. Once the rest of the farm animals saw that there were others willing to join in they came to cheer too.
Messages for children and adults
This book has two important messages. The first is for children: pursue your dreams even if others insist you shouldn’t. This is a common theme among children’s literature, but this time it is told through cheerleading. With this modern activity, it might resonate more with children than some of the older folktales.
The second message is for adults: your behaviors and words can hurt the dreams and aspirations of children. The other barnyard animals portray some of the negativity that adults can show towards children. Right from the start of the book, the grown chickens are annoyed by the Cheerful Chick because she is too loud. They also don’t want any part in her dream because they are sucked into their cell phones. Mr. Pig is grumpy and too busy eating to even listen to Cheerful Chick. Mrs. Cow is apathetic, and the Horses are stern and flat out refuse. The only adult who shows any interest is Sheep, who turns out to be too tired to have fun. These characters should remind all adults that we play a huge part in the encouragement of children, and our attitudes and behaviors can help support or extinguish the dreams of children.
The illustrations provided by Brian Won are colorful as a spring day on a farm and just as cheerful as Chick herself. His attention to detail includes not only typical farm fare, but also things like foam fingers, pennants, cell phones, cheering pyramids of chicks, and curlers in the mane of one of the horses.
This is a fun read that puts a contemporary twist on a common theme and provides a helpful, but subtle, reminder for adults as well.
Cheerful Chick written by Martha Brockenbrough and illustrated by Brian Won was published on January 1, 2019 by Scholastic Books. It is available as a hardcover picture book and is recommended for ages 4-8. ISBN:9781338134186