Tag Archives: chickens

Which came first – the chicken or the duckling?

First of all in this post I would like your opinion, if you are happy to give it, about a story for young children I have been working on.  This is it:

Ten Little Eggs

 

I recently revisited a series interrogating whether it is important for authors to ensure the correctness of information in picture books, and where the line between fact and fiction should be drawn.

I questioned the inaccuracies in Eric Carle‘s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar and whether it mattered that what emerged from the cocoon was a butterfly rather than a moth (butterfly caterpillars don’t spin cocoons, moth caterpillars do).

Responses varied greatly, but seemed to be evenly divided, from it doesn’t matter at all to it matters a lot. You can read the responses on the posts here, here, here, here, and here.

I realise that the comments are subjective and personal and greatly dependent upon the readers’ experiences with the book and attitude towards the well-known, highly respected and prolific author.  I wondered what the attitude would be to my less worthy story.

My intention was for an amusing twist at the end with the realisation that the 10th hatchling was slow because it really was a chicken, not just “chicken” as in scared.

However, when I researched incubation times for chickens and ducklings, I discovered that ducklings take longer to hatch than chickens. Therefore the story not only doesn’t work but, if I was to publish it, I would be misleading readers. While it is also unlikely that a chicken’s egg would turn up in a duck’s nest, it is possible and I am not as concerned about that inconsistency. However I stopped working on the story because of the inaccuracy and have let it sit.

A suggestion made by Steven during the cocoon/chrysalis debate was that a page of facts at the end of the book would overcome any inaccuracies in the text. This made me think that perhaps I could include a page of facts about chickens and ducklings to counterbalance the inaccuracy in the story,  for example:

Chickens and ducklings - Would you believe

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.