Review of My Dog’s a Chicken, by Susan McElroy Montanari and Anne Wilsdorf

My Dog’s a Chicken

by Susan McElroy Montanari
illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf

Schwartz & Wade Books, New York, 2016. 36 pages.

The stage is set perfectly in this picture book:

Lula Mae wanted a puppy, but Mama said, “Dog’s just another mouth to feed. These are hard times, Lula Mae. You’ve got to make do.”

Baby Berry sat on Mama’s hip. “Make do,” he repeated.

However, the family has plenty of chickens scratching around. Lula Mae seizes one and adopts it as her dog. Quickly, she shows that her dog Pookie is a good show dog, shepherd dog, and guard dog.

Mama is not convinced, and Baby Berry continues to echo what she has to say.

But when Baby Berry doesn’t repeat their words, they realize he has wandered off. Where could he be? When Pookie shows herself to be a good search-and-rescue dog, that’s when she wins over Mama.

I usually resist the rejected-animal-heroically-saves-the-day trope, but this one comes in such a delightfully silly package. I think it may be Anne Wilsdorf’s illustrations that win me over. I so loved Sophie’s Squash, another story of a little girl making an unconventional adoption. Anne Wilsdorf knows how to draw precocious free thinkers like Sophie and Lula Mae.

This book also has some fun repetitive elements that should work well in a story time. And the illustrator plays fair – if you look closely, you can discover where Baby Berry has gone while the rest of the family is frantically looking.

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

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but I maintain my website and blogs on my own time. The views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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