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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Chicken Cheeks, written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes. Simon & Schuster, 2009. $18.99 ages 3 and up

"This is a story with a beginning, a middle and a whole lot of ends."

On the title page we see a bear on a stepladder, looking up. A duck floats on an adjacent pond watching him. The duck comes ashore, while a mooose with a mouthful of weeds appears and two ants begin the upward ascent on the legs of the ladder. As the bear boosts the duck, we get a glimpse of a 'duck tail'. When the moose joins the chain, it's a 'moose caboose' and we get a sneak peek of a chicken steathily making its approach...hence, the 'chicken cheeks'. As the vertical tower grows, so does the list of names for the back ends of those involved...all are set to grab the honey in the hive at the top of the tree. When a frantic bumblebee shows its 'bum' in an effort to stem the flow of thieves, the whole tower crashes and all comes to an 'end'!

Another bum book for kids to love! The illustrations are so much fun, and really help to drive the plot as the zany cast of characters display their butts for all to see. The colors are bright, the expressions crazed and the perpendicular illustration gives young readers the real story. If you've been watching the ants as they played their part in the shenanigans, you will note that they are the real victors as the story winds down. The back cover boasts the skewed adage...'the end is rear.'

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