Fun but lightweight, this title adds little to the canon of chicken kid-lit.

CHICKENS ON THE LOOSE

Urban backyard chickens go on a madcap tour of the city in this rhyming romp.

When a flock of hens and one little chick escape from their backyard coop, they make the most of their chaotic dash around a vibrant city. Pursued by an ever growing crowd of frantic humans, the chickens sneak into shops, abscond with food-cart delights, and add some painted poultry touches to a wall mural. As in many picture books about mischievous chickens, the joy lies in the thrilling pandemonium the birds create from Page 1. This promising start leads to a satisfying “SPLAAAT!!!” at the climax of the chase. Unfortunately, the following pages fail to resolve the story clearly, as the humans inexplicably disappear and the chickens magically end up back in their coop. The rhyming text has stop-and-go pacing that mimics the chickens’ running and the humans’ attempts to stop them. A word here or there seems a bit forced into the rhyme scheme, but overall the narrative bounces off the tongue. The marker-bright illustrations are frenetic and filled with humorous details. Human characters have a wide range of skin tones, hair colors and textures, and attire. Backmatter includes information about urban chicken keeping and a few chicken facts. This information is interesting but also a bit incongruous as the chickens in the book are so anthropomorphized.

Fun but lightweight, this title adds little to the canon of chicken kid-lit. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5132-6724-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: West Margin Press

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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A cozy read for bibliophiles.

SNOWMAN'S STORY

With echoes of “Frosty the Snowman” in the background, a snowman’s storybook within this wordless book delivers a comic wintertime romp.

Woodland creatures build a snowman, giving him a green book as a finishing touch. This addition comes right after a windswept top hat lands on his head, vivifying him à la Frosty. Hidden inside is a rabbit (it is a magic hat, after all); attentive readers will have seen the hat first on frontmatter pages and then with the bunny in the double-page spreads before the early ones devoted to the snowman’s construction. The snowman reads his book aloud to the animals, with the rabbit surreptitiously listening in, its ears poking out of the top of the hat. When the others all drift off to sleep, the bunny emerges and steals away with the book. A chase ensues across snowy terrain and through a series of pages (perhaps a few too many for good pacing) replete with comic-style panels. When the animals and snowman confront the rabbit in its tree-hollow home, its motivation for book thievery is revealed: This bunny has a family and wishes to share the story with its children. All’s well that ends well, and the animals convene (safely outside and away from the rabbit family’s crackling fireplace) to read together.

A cozy read for bibliophiles. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4787-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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