The Trouble with Chickens, written by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Kevin Cornell

Trouble’s brewing.

Former search-and-rescue dog J.J. Tully wants you to know that chickens are trouble, with their beady, close-set eyes, nervous twitches, and ornery temperaments. How does he know this? Because trouble’s all he gets after Millicent the mama chicken darkens his doorstep. Seems that two of her chicks have gone missing and she needs J.J. Tully’s help.

J.J. Tully’s not interested in helping.

He is interested in the cheeseburger Millicent, whom he calls Moosh to annoy her, offers as payment.

Trouble.

That’s what you get when you mix a mama chicken with a twitching problem, two pesky chicks, two missing chicks, and a disgruntled, cone-wearing dachsund known as Vince the Funnel.

Think of this one as Guy Noir, Private Eye, for the newly independent reading set, except that J.J. Tully is definitely not enamored with his client. After a distinguished career writing picture books about labor relations for the preschool set and the innermost thoughts of worms, Doreen Cronin has created one of the most cleverly-written early chapter books I’ve read in a long time. The Trouble with Chickens is smart and laugh-out-loud funny. Kevin Cornell’s black-and-white illustrations are a perfect complement to the text.

Trouble?

Bring it on. And then some. Because kids will be asking for upcoming titles in this new series.

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