Friday, March 25, 2011
The Trouble With Chickens by Doreen Cronin
J.J. Tully is a former search-and rescue dog who is trying to enjoy his retirement after years of performing daring missions saving lives. So he’s not terribly impressed when two chicks named Dirt and Sugar (who look like popcorn on legs) and their chicken mom show up demanding his help to track down their missing siblings. Driven by the promise of a cheeseburger, J.J. begins to track down clues. Is Vince the Funnel hiding something? Are there dark forces at work—or is J.J. not smelling the evidence that’s right in front of him?
I was both excited and wary about reading this book. I love Doreen Cronin's picture books: Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type and Diary of a Worm are two of my favorites. Yet, I wasn't sure how her creative picture book style would translate to chapter book format.
She handles the transition beautifully. This is a book that will have appeal to a number of audiences. Children will find the story silly (especially if read aloud with great expression) and while some of the humor will slip past the kids, the adults will chuckle at the innuendo - making this a great family read.
At times, while reading this book I was reminded of Hank the Cow Dog by John Erickson, though I must admit I like J. J. far more than I do Hank.
Students getting reading to make the move from reading picture books to chapter books will recognize Cronin's name and will be eager to give this story a try. While School Library Journal levels this a 2nd Grade - 4th Grade read, I would recommend it as a read alone for 4th grade and up (they are more likely to get more of the humor) and a read aloud for students in 1st Grade and up.
The Trouble With Chickens is a great addition to any school, classroom or home library.
Mrs. Archer's rating: 4.5 of 5!