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Capture the Flag
Kate Messner


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The Trouble with Chickens PDF Print E-mail

What You Need to Know:
• This is author Doreen Cronin's first foray into early chapter books and what a wonderful debut it is!
• Some of Cronin's previously published picture books include such classic titles as Click Clack Moo, Diary of a Worm
   and Duck for President.

• This dry and witty mystery book is sure to entertain kids and any adults who happen to read it with them.
Sweet Book Summary:
J.J. Tully is a retired search and rescue dog now living on a farm, but his golden years are not agreeing with him. J.J. misses the gritty streets and high stakes drama that came along with his career. Then suddenly the chicken family is in need of his services. Two of the four chicks have gone missing, and the chicken mom is beside herself. J.J. quickly deduces that Vince the Funnel's got something to do with this. Vince is the indoor dog that lives in the farmhouse and always has a giant funnel around his neck. Will J.J. be able to save his fine-feathered friends? You or your young reader will have to read this side-splitting tale to find out.

I would really like to meet Doreen Cronin; I bet she is one funny lady. All of her books are hilarious with spot-on witty humor, and this one is no exception. Cronin has written this book in a very film-noir kind of way; you almost expect J.J. to call someone dame. Then she adds this juxtaposition of the cuddly little chicks. The combination of these elements is so out there and original, and it totally works. To give you an idea, the first lines of the book are as follows:

"It was a hot, sunny day when I met that crazy chicken. So hot that sometimes I think the whole thing may have been a mirage. But mirages don't have chicken breath, mister."

I mean, come on, this is funny stuff! As I read this story the gravelly voice of a narrator - think Perry Mason - was talking in my head. This is a quality book to put in your young reader's hands. And the really good news is, it's the start of a series!
Author: Doreen Cronin Illustrator: Kevin Cornell Published: 2011, 128 pages
Themes: Humor, Animals, Adventure, Mystery, Books for Boys
Sweet Discussion Questions:
• Who did you think kidnapped the chicks?
• Did the ending surprise you? In what way?
• Do you ever imagine that animals have secret lives? If so, what do you think is going on with them?
• Do you understand why Sugar collaborated with Vince? Do you think that was a good way to get what she wanted?
If You Liked This Book, Try:
Ballpark Mysteries, David A. Kelly
Cam Jansen, David Adler
This recommendation was written by: Melissa Y.
Support Independent Book Shops: Click Here to Buy this Book on IndieBound

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