The Story of the Chicken Made of Rags is a family story that has traversed several generations. My grandmother Nina Serrano and her brother Philip Serrano used to hear the bedtime tale from their uncle Paul of a raggedy chicken and her motley crew of feathered friends who were invited to a feast, only to discover that they were the main course. Uncle Paul had in turn heard the story from his nanny, who had been a slave on the island of Cuba.
Nina Serrano later rewrote the tale, this time set in San Francisco, and my great uncle Phil wrote songs to accompany a stage production. In 1991, Nina’s children Greg and Valerie Landau spearheaded the production of this audio drama, with Greg producing the music. At the young age of ten I joined the cast as the Little Swan, and today I present it as a re-release of a family tale that spans generations. We hope you enjoy it.
“What would Miss Manners say? A ragged, hardworking chicken receives an invitation to an upscale banquet and generously invites her motley flock of feathered friends to join in the festivities. The catch is, they’re not dinner guests—they’re dinner! This turn-of-the-century folktale is smartly updated with skateboards and slang, recycling and rap. But what turns the poor chicken, duck, goose, and swan’s saga into a real feast are the zingy, jazz-tinged, Caribbean-flavored songs, some featuring singer Holly Near. How the poultry eventually escape the villain chef’s pot is a charming lesson in teamwork, showing that even in the urban jungle, good can triumph over evil. And that’s a nice bit or reassurance for children.”
— Parenting Magazine