Review of The Trouble with Chickens, by Doreen Cronin

The Trouble with Chickens

A J. J. Tully Mystery

by Doreen Cronin
illustrated by Kevin Cornell

Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins), 2011. 119 pages.

It’s always good to find a beginning chapter book that’s funny, clever, and absorbing. The Trouble with Chickens has twenty-two short chapters, but there are plenty of pictures and lots of space between the lines. A child will feel he or she has accomplished something when they finish the book, but they will have fun while doing so, and it’s not too intimidating.

It always helps when the book is funny. This book is a hard-boiled detective story, but the detective is a search-and-rescue dog who’s been put out to pasture. A chicken wants his help.

Here’s how J. J. Tully puts it:

“I could track the six-day-old scent of a lost hiker and pull a fat guy out from under a pile of rubble, but I couldn’t get that crazy chicken out of my yard.”

Two of the chicken’s four chicks are missing, and it’s up to J. J. to track them down. Unfortunately, he must endure help from the two chicks who are still on the loose. And the crime ends up being much more nefarious than it appears at first.

Doreen Cronin is the author of the brilliant Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, and its companions. Now she turns her hand to entertainment for children ready to read on their own. She’s still got that great sense of humor and gives us a look at human passions by displaying them in the bodies of animals. A lot of fun.

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Source: This review is based on a library book from the Fairfax County Public Library.

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