Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Monday, May 9, 2011

Frantic Feathered Folly

The books of  Doreen Cronin are well known to my students and I.  We have chuckled over the exploits of Duck in Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type, Giggle Giggle Quack, Dooby, Dooby, Moo, and Duck For President.  We have poured over her Diary of  Worm, Diary of a Spider and Diary of a Fly trio. 

Introducing a new series for middle readers with the title, The Trouble with Chickens: A J. J. Tully Mystery (Balzer + Bray), Cronin exhibits that she has grown with her readers.  The dry, drool humor found in her previous books is sharper and more prevalent.  With puns abounding readers will find it hard to not snicker and burst out laughing.  She may have looked fluffy and new, but this chick had already learned that life outside the shell was not all it was cracked up to be.

Short, witty chapters introduce readers to Jonathan Joseph Tully (J. J.) a seven year veteran as a search and rescue dog.  His quiet retirement in the country is being interrupted by the pesky presence of a looney chicken named Moosh (Millicent) and her two chicks, Dirt and Sugar (Loo Boo and Peep).  Dialogue is reminiscent of old detective shows on television or in early novels:  I'm  no chicken expert, but something wasn't right.  "Who's missing?" I asked Moosh.  The truth was somewhere between her brain and her beak.  I wasn't sure it would survive the trip.  "Spill it, Moosh," I grunted.  She was getting on my nerves.

Yes, indeed, two more chicks are missing and a note has been delivered.  There is to be a meeting at twilight but best laid plans get twisted as do loyalties.  One surprise links to another as the peeps, their beaky Mom and Vince the Funnel crash, clash and dash with and against our canine detective.  What follows these fouled-up fowl is for the reader to discover as the doggone truth closes this case.

 The black and white drawings of Kevin Cornell  make this slim 100 plus page tale even more engaging.  These illustations interpret each and every facial twitch and corny characteristic of the critters as they crack the case amid screaming, squawking action (and the occasional dog nap).

Will the daring duo of Cronin and Cornell return?  Stay tuned for The Legend of Diamond Lil.

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