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Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Trouble with Chickens, written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Kevin Cornell. Balzer & Bray, Harper. 2011. $16.99 ages 6 and up

"There's an easy way to do a search and a hard way.
The easy way is early in the evening with a cool breeze and a steady partner.
The hard way is high noon with a crazy chicken clucking in your ear and two feather balls riding your tail.
This search was gonna go the hard way."

Oh boy, here's a great Easter gift for a six-year-old who loves to read! Easter - know!

J.J. has retired from his adventure-filled life as a rescue and training dog. Now, he spends his days in relative obscurity on a farm with chickens, no less. One of them comes looking for him when two of her chicks disappear. She can't promise compensation, except in the form of a cheeseburger. So, J.J. takes the case!

A ransom note is found and all clues lead to the house where J.J.'s foe, Vince the 'Funnel', lives. Vince is a dog that never leaves the house, hates the new dog and appears to have an accomplice in the abduction. There are no humans present, and the whole show belongs to dogs and chickens.
There is so much to love about this funny tale. One of the chicks has a fondness for books, and will go to any lengths to ensure time to read. J.J. is willing to share much about his time in search and rescue. Kids who read, or listen to, this charming detective story will be pumped to know it is just the beginning of a brand new series. The sarcastic humor of the dog at the center of its action had me laughing out loud and waiting for the next barb. The chicks and their mother hold their own in a series of funny incidents, and poor Vince falls victim to their combined plotting.

Kevin Cornell matches the wit and humor of the story with his appealing, expressive characters. There is much to see here, and kids will enjoy every twist as they play out on its pages. What a way to get young readers hooked on mysteries! I can't wait to see the next one.

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