Rascol, Sabina, Trans. 2004. THE IMPUDENT ROOSTER. Ill. by Holly Berry. New York: Dutton. ISBN 0525471790 [Suggested Grade Levels 1-3]
THE IMPUDENT ROOSTER is a retelling of a Romanian folktale. In this version an old woman and an old man are neighbors. The woman has prospered while the old man has just enough to get by, but does have a devoted pet rooster. The old man in a pique of exasperation tells the rooster he wishes he were a hen and could lay eggs. The rooster in turn decides to ease on down the road and find a way to help his master. He finds a little money which attracts the bad attention of a greedy nobleman who is determined to get it no matter how small. This meeting sets up a battle of wits between the bird and the greedy man. The bird throughout these battles keeps telling the noble,”Cucurigu, my greatest lord! Give back the pennies you stole.” The nobleman tries to kill the bird by drowning, by burying, by burning it, etc.. to no avail. The rooster finds a way to not merely escape but to prosper in the bargain. By the story’s end the rooster not only has had the purse of coins returned, but has found a way to ensure his master wealth and good fortune.
This story has dramatic qualities inherent in it as the rooster, and the nobleman have definite personalities. Repeated phrases such as Cucurigu as well as “What could the rooster do” add to the freshness of the material. The illustrations showcase Romanian folkart in style with a bold cocky little bird showcased throughout. Shades of yellow and orange in the bird as well as the various gold coins the nobleman will not let go of help the drawings parallel the text.
This story would be an excellent reader’s theater event where children with a bit of costuming such as head gear act out the main characters’ repeated phrases with an adult or older child setting forth the major narration.
Other stories where roosters are the stars:
Conrad, Pam. THE ROOSTER'S GIFT. ISBN 0060236043
Dallas-Conté, Juliet. COCK-A-MOO-MOO. ISBN 0316605050
Pearson, Tracey Campbell. BOB. ISBN 0374399573
Stevens, Janet. COOK-A-DOODLE-DOO! ISBN 0152019243
Wormell, Mary. BERNARD THE ANGRY ROOSTER. ISBN 0374306702
By Andrea L. Williams