I read Chicken Little by Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley with my kindergarten students today.
The students will be attending a puppet theatre performance in a few weeks and the classroom teachers have asked that I help introduce the students to the genre and read some stories. Starting with Chicken Little was an even better choice than I realized. Many of the students had read or seen a version of this folk tale so we were able to develop a deeper understanding of the lesson in the story due to this prior knowledge.
During our discussion, the students brought up the traditional lessons: think first, make plans, and don't just follow along. We spent a good deal of time talking about not rushing to judgement. They also brought up story-specific messages: don't go into the mouth of a fox, look where you are going, and look around. There was a cool text-to-text connection to The Mitten (all the feathered friends end up under the umbrella, which seems to grow as they do). Also, having seen or read other versions allowed us to talk about those versions and then compare them to this one. Shared reading experiences are the bridges of the great divide -- they bring us together, they create a shared understanding, the inspire thinking. Conversations around books encourage students to be thinkers about things both big and small. This is a good thing, because we will need their agile and creative brains in the future.