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Monday, July 30, 2012

Bawk & Roll, written by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Dan Santat. Sterling, 2012. $17.95 ages 5 and up

"The next gig will be better,"
 said Elvis. "Just chill, chicks."
"I know!" said Marge.
"Let's picture the crowd in their
"Tightie whities?" Lola nodded.
"That should work."
it didn't."

Which brings us to the further adventures of Marge and Lola, this time on tour with their idol. His attendance at the barnyard talent show resulted in his asking the hens to join him as his tour dancers. Imagine their delight!

As they board the bus and head out on the road, fame firmly on their radar, their farmyard pals offer good wishes and a hope for news from the road. They are off to their first gig at McDoodle's Barnyard and Peacock Farm. The crowd is thunderous and plentiful. Elvis seems unperturbed; not so, the hamstrung hens. They suffer their first of many performances giving way to stage fright. No matter what they try, the fear never leaves. In a burst of brilliance, they finally figure out what they are missing. Problem solved!

Again, it's the 'punny' language and deadpan humor that will keep the audience rolling in the aisles, and cheering for the chickens. The illustrations are filled with bold color, charismatic characters, entertaining  newspaper headlines and reports, effective and engaging changes in perspective and lighting that illuminates the action in all the right places. The endpapers roll right along with the tour bus. The back cover introduces Elvis' second album, aptly named Jailhouse Bawk: The Coop Sessions, that includes studio outtakes. The follow-up album's songlist is as funny as the first: Flying in the Chapel and Are You Lonesome in Flight? I wonder about the lyrics!

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