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Animal Theme/Character, Book Reviews, Early/Young Readers, Mystery/Adventure, Teacher & Parent Recommendations

THE TROUBLE WITH CHICKENS by Doreen Cronin

The Trouble With Chickens is a new chapter book by Doreen Cronin, who wrote all the Click, Clack, Moo books.  If you are (or have) a young or beginning reader who love those books this is a great segue into chapter books.

The main character is J.J. Tully, a retired search-and-rescue dog.  He has retired to his handler, Barb’s, home.  Also in residence there are Vince the Funnel (a daschund) and several pet chickens:  Millicent (the mother) and her four chicks.

The story begins with Millicent (whom J.J. calls Moosh) approaching J.J. for help in locating two of her chicks who are missing and believed to be kidnapped.  When J.J. demands a cheeseburger as payment for his services, Moosh agrees.  J.J., along with Moosh and her two remaining chicks (whom J.J. calls Sugar and Dirt) begin their investigation .

My children and I just finished reading this as a bedtime story.  It is full of humor and some great plot twists which keep it interesting as well as enjoyable.  We also loved the illustrations by Kevin Cornell.  They definitely enhance the story and provided great chuckles as well.

The three of us were always anxious to get back to reading it every night.  In fact, we stayed up an extra fifteen minutes last night just to finish it; it was too exciting to put down when we were that close to discovering the answer to the mystery and the resolution of its ensuing complications!

If you enjoy the Click, Clack, Moo series you will LOVE this story.  I did!  Also, the end of the book hints at another to come–possibly a series of J.J. Tully mysteries.  I will be anxiously awaiting them.  I highly recommend this as an independent or read-aloud selection at home or in the classroom!

For teachers of first or second grade who want to do an author study using Doreen Cronin, this would be a great choice to follow her picture books!

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