Tail of the Week: Rooster!
The rooster has a glorious tail with three or four long, wavy feathers on top. These are called “sickle feathers” and help the rooster keep his balance when walking or running. They are richly colored and sometimes iridescent and shine in the sunlight. The rooster has a red, fleshy growth on top of his head and underneath his beak. The top one is called a ‘comb’ and the one under the beak is called the ‘wattle.’
A popular nursery rhyme from the 18th century features a rooster crowing:
My dame has lost her shoe.
My master’s lost his fiddlestick
And knows not what to do.
What is my dame to do?
‘Til master finds his fiddlestick
She’ll dance without her shoe.
Roosters are featured in a number of stories for children. “The Bremen Town Musicians,” a German folktale, features a rooster who crows his ‘cock-a-doodle-doo!’ to scare some robbers. You can find this story online or in the folktale section at the library. Look for “Little Rooster and the Diamond Button” in the folktale section, also, and remember that folktales are great short story choices for older students. Super Rooster Saves the Day by Maureen Wright is a picture book that features two animal friends who live on a farm where there aren’t many opportunities for superheroes – until the farmer turns on the radio and they hear the “Chicken Dance.”
In the Easy Reader section, try Rooster Is Off to See the World by Eric Carle, who uses collage techniques to illustrate his books. Carle’s rooster is truly magnificent! Extend the story by making your own rooster collage:
What you need:
- One large piece of paper or cardboard, any color
- Assorted paper or pages from old magazines, junk mail, food packaging, gel prints, etc. TIP: The Main Library has craft packets available that provide assorted papers and scraps that are perfect for this craft!
- Glue stick
- Optional: Crayons or markers
What you do:
- Draw a large circle (about the size of your hand) on a piece of paper or packaging.
- Cut out the circle – it’s okay if it isn’t perfectly round.
- Fold the circle in half – this is the rooster’s body.
- From a different paper, cut a large triangle for the rooster’s neck.
- From yet another different paper, cut a square or diamond shape for the rooster’s head.
- Cut a small circle for the eye and two small triangles for the beak. Yellow or orange are traditional color choices, but you don’t have to be traditional. Go wild! Make a green beak! Make the eye fluorescent violet! Use your crayons and markers to make the color you want.
- Fold a small piece of paper in half and cut a “J” shape on the fold and then open it to make a heart. This is the rooster’s comb.
- Repeat step #7 to make a slightly smaller heart. This is the rooster’s wattle.
- Assemble the neck and head pieces as shown in the picture and glue them on the large paper.
- Cut two thin strips from paper or packaging. These are the rooster’s legs. You can include the feet as you are cutting the legs or you can cut four tiny triangles to glue to the front and back of each leg at the bottom.
- Cut a teardrop shape (think of it like an egg with a point) and cut small snips along one side. This is the rooster’s wing.
- Cut three or four banana shapes in rich colors – any colors – and glue them to the rooster’s body so that they curve out for a magnificent tail!