The Chicken Squad: The First Misadventures
Booklist Reviews 2014 April #2
When a terrified squirrel barges into a backyard chicken coop looking for help, four tough little chicks patiently draw out his story and try to figure out what frightened the panicky critter. Deducing that a UFO may have landed in the yard, chicks Dirt, Sugar, Poppy, and Sweetie camouflage themselves with grass clippings and pelt the new (vaguely UFO-like) barbecue grill with rocks in a misguided attempt to rescue Moosh, their mom. Retired search-and-rescue dog J. J. Tully charges in to stop the attack and set things straight. If the characters sound familiar, they appeared in the J. J. Tully Mystery series. Now the four little chicks move into the spotlight for the Chicken Squad series. With its shorter text and larger type, the book will suit somewhat younger readers, those just moving up to chapter books. As in the previous series, some chapters are written in third person, while others are narrated by the dog. Cornell's comical gray-wash illustrations magnify the story's mild humor. An amusing beginning chapter book. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Fall
While retired search-and-rescue dog J. J. Tully (The Trouble with Chickens) takes a nap, four of the chicks in his charge investigate "something big and scary in the yard." Pinning down the specifics becomes an arduous--and humorous--task. Large font, short paragraphs, and straightforward sentences combine with expressive, endearing black-and-white illustrations to support new chapter book readers.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2014 #3
While retired search-and-rescue dog J.?J. Tully (The Trouble with Chickens, rev. 3/11; The Legend of Diamond Lil, rev. 7/12) takes a little nap, four of the chicks in his charge take the limelight. Before his snooze, J.?J. describes each chick for readers and then puts them on notice: "Wake me if they get into any trouble. Well, big trouble. I'm sure you can handle a little trouble on your own." Of course Dirt, Sugar, Poppy, and Sweetie are in trouble by the next page turn, when a frazzled squirrel bursts into the coop reporting "something big and scary in the yard." Pinning down the specifics of this claim becomes an arduous -- and humorous -- task, but the sleuthing chicks bravely head out to set things right. Fortunately, the commotion rouses J.?J. just in time. Large font, short paragraphs, and straightforward sentences combine with expressive, endearing black-and-white illustrations on almost every page to support new chapter book readers. The zealous Chicken Squad has much to learn before it can solve any mysteries solo, but the chicks' earnest mistakes create more than enough action, entertainment, and mayhem to suffice. julie roac Copyright 2014 Horn Book Magazine.
PW Reviews 2014 April #4
This loopy mystery kicks off the Chicken Squad series, a spinoff of Cronin and Cornell's J.J. Tully Mysteries that is skewed to even younger readers. Retired search-and-rescue dog turned detective J.J. takes a minor role in this outing, leaving the spotlight to Moosh's four chicks. Though it's J.J.'s job to bail out the trouble-prone chickens, he enlists readers to take over while he naps: "Wake me if they get into any trouble. Well, big trouble. I'm sure you can handle a little trouble on your own." Trouble arrives in the guise of Tail, a terrified squirrel who storms the chicken coop insisting that "something big and scary" is after him. Led by Sugar, who records clues in her notebook, and Dirt, who uses her sketchpad to decipher the shape of the interloper, the chick siblings (camouflaged as clods of grass) and Tail set out to confront what they assume is a UFO. As Cronin and Cornell layer on the silliness, full-tilt slapstick springs from the chicks' banter and Tail's melodramatic ranting. Ages 7–10. Author's agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Apr.)[Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC