- Library Binding: 119 pages
- Publisher: Balzer & Bray (1 March 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061215333
- ISBN-13: 978-0061215339
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.5 x 19.7 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 45.4 g
- Customer Reviews: Be the first to review this item
The Trouble with Chickens Library Binding – 1 Mar 2011
Praise for Doreen Cronin's DIARY OF A FLY: "Teeming with funny vignettes."--New York Times
Praise for Doreen Cronin's DIARY OF A SPIDER: "Hits squarely on the middle-grade funnybone."--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Praise for Doreen Cronin's DIARY OF A FLY: "Impeccable comedic timing."--Horn Book Magazine
Cronin brings her droll humor to the chapter book set with great success. Fast-paced and funny, with interesting vocabulary and a well-constructed plot, this is terrific fare for readers who are ready to move beyond picture books, but are intimidated by longer works. --Publishers Weekly (starred review)"
The noirlike detective Tully and the funny chickens running around, well, like chickensmake appealing characters, especially as drawn by Cornell, who knows how to get TV cartoon stylehumor out of the action. --Booklist"
Praise for Doreen Cronin s DIARY OF A FLY: Irresistible and undeniably super. --Publishers Weekly (starred review)"
Praise for Doreen Cronin s DIARY OF A FLY: Teeming with funny vignettes. --New York Times"
Praise for Doreen Cronin s DIARY OF A FLY: Will have kids laughing out loud. --School Library Journal (starred review)"
Praise for Doreen Cronin s DIARY OF A FLY: Like its predecessors, this diary is a crowd-pleaser. --ALA Booklist"
From the Back Cover
J.J. Tully is a former search-and rescue dog who is trying to enjoy his retirement after years of performing daring missions saving lives. So he’s not terribly impressed when two chicks named Dirt and Sugar (who look like popcorn on legs) and their chicken mom show up demanding his help to track down their missing siblings. Driven by the promise of a cheeseburger, J.J. begins to track down clues. Is Vince the Funnel hiding something? Are there dark forces at work—or is J.J. not smelling the evidence that’s right in front of him?
Bestselling author Doreen Cronin uses her deadpan humor to pitch-perfect effect in her first novel for young readers. Heavily illustrated with black-and-white artwork from Kevin Cornell, this new series is destined to become a classic.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
We're anxiously awaiting the next Chicken Squad book, and in the meantime have started on the prequel JJ Tully Mysteries. Absolutely adorable, and just as enjoyable for parents as for the kids. Our son is working his way through the 2nd Chicken Squad independently, and we supplement by reading the JJ Tully books to him, which are a just a bit more advanced (i.e. less pictures, slightly smaller text than Chicken Squad, but still lots of great illustrations, and nice manageable chapter sizes).
To set the mood, I listened to Robert Mitchum's Philip Marlowe from Farewell My Lovely and adapted his gravelly delivery for the voice of J.J. Tully, the retired search and rescue dog. J.J. not only is the story's protagonist but also the laconic narrator through all but two of the 23 chapters.
So, who narrates the other two chapters? Well, that would be Vince the Funnel, the villainous inside dog, described as "a cross between a dachshund and a lamp." For Vince, I initially considered a Peter Lorre impersonation but settled on Orson Welles' Harry Lime from The Third Man.
With the narrative voices locked down, I added one more trick to keep my sons (ages 8 and 6) engaged in the story. We began each chapter with our own film noir soundtrack: da-dum-dum-ta-da-da-dum-dum with a cool finger snap for a beat with a single hi-hat.
We read the book over three nights as the boys' bedtime reading. My sons focused mostly on Cornell's illustrations during the first night. My eldest son rolled his eyes as I led the film noir soundtrack into each new chapter. The noir style drew them in slowly. However, the night ended with a highlight, a silhouette of Vince the Funnel at the end of chapter eight.
I had to hide the book for the second night, so my sons wouldn't read ahead before I got home from work. The eye rolling stopped. I had two enthusiastic finger snappers at the start of each chapter. They were critics, too. I mixed up a couple names only to be corrected by my six-year old, who flipped back to the book cover and named each chick.
My boys woke up and searched the house for the book. They returned from school and searched again. By the time I returned home from work, they met me at the door. Fingers snapping, the third and last night was electric. The boys, sensing a double cross and a cliffhanger for J.J., pushed me through the last six chapters.
I won't spoil the ending but, true to form, this whodunit ends with a (family-friendly) twist.
Rating: Five stars.
BTW: Parents looking for a noir treat of their own would enjoy The Best American Noir of the Century, a 39-story anthology I gave a five-star rating on Amazon in December 2010.
I loved this story! JJ talks like a 1940's film noir gumshoe. The villain, Vincent the Funnel (is that not a great nickname?), talks like a 1930's gangster. The story is hilarious. Mama chicken and her chicks are precious. It's not just the chicks that learn. I look forward to more in this series.