Title: The Trouble with Chickens
Author: Doreen Cronin
Illustrator: Kevin Cornell
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
May Contain Spoilers
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.
I originally read a digital galley of this back in October. I loved the book, but decided to wait for a finished copy before I wrote up my thoughts on it. The title was released at the beginning of the month, so I ordered my very own copy from Amazon. This is such a fun book, and I enjoyed revisiting the story. Doreen Cronin’s prose kept me engaged for the entire length of the re-read.
J. J. Tully is a retired search and rescue dog. He’s been there, and he’s seen it all. When a chicken disturbs his quiet life in the country, he just can’t say no to the distraught mama hen. Well, the promised cheeseburger seals the deal, and Tully is on the hunt for Moosh’s missing chicks, Poppy and Sweetie.
I love Tully, and I am happy to see that more adventures are planned for him. He is rough around the edges and tells it like it is, kind of like a canine Sam Spade. He knows that life isn’t all candy and roses, and he knows that not all missions are of the rescue kind. Some are much more unpleasant. He is hoping for a joyful reunion between Mooch and her chicks, but as he searches, he discovers that she, and her two other chicks, Sugar and Dirt, aren’t being completely upfront with him. Dealing with the frantic mama hen, her too smart for their good chicks, and the devious inside dog, Vince, with equal aplomb, Tully puts aside his personal feelings to ensure that the quest for Moosh’s missing chicks has a happy ending.
The illustrations sprinkled throughout the book are charming and fit the tone of the narrative perfectly. The Trouble with Chickens is for the younger set, Grades 2 – 4, but there is so much to love for older readers, too.