The Trouble With Chickens: A J.J. Tully Mystery
by Doreen Cronin, illus. by Kevin Cornell
Balzar + Bray/HarperCollins, 2011
I was so excited when this book finally came in at the library! As a huge fan of Cronin's picture books, including Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, Duck for President, and Diary of A Worm, I couldn't wait to see what she would do with a chapter book. And this book didn't disappoint - it is just as witty as her picture books.
J.J. Tully is a retired search-and-rescue dog, now living in the country with his trainer. One day a mother chicken shows up at his doghouse with two chicks in tow - Little Boo and Peep. Or, Dirt and Sugar as J.J. begins to call them. Turns out she also has two other chicks, who've gone missing. J.J reluctantly agrees to help find them, in return for a cheeseburger. When a ransom note appears, using big "inside" words like behoove and rendezvous, it starts to look like inside dog Vince the Funnel, "a cross between a dachshund and a lamp," is responsible.
This would be a fun read-aloud, as well as a great transition from beginning readers to chapter books for those reading independently. The illustrations (black and white sketches) break up the text and really add to the story. Discerning readers will notice that in an illustration of the house's library, some of Cronin's other books are on the bookshelves.
Lots of fun, a great mystery, and the promise of more of J.J. to come! Don't miss this one.
Reviewed from library copy