Thursday, January 24, 2013

Book talk: The Trouble with Chickens (Virginia Readers' Choice, 2012-2013)

J. J. Tully, 'retired' rescue dog

Search and rescue dogs are really cool and really smart. They use their keen sense of smell, orders from humans, and animal intuition to find missing people. It’s a noble job. J. J. Tully is a rescue dog. He has found many missing people by sniffing them out of rubble, snow, darkness, and danger. But now he’s got a mother chicken harassing him. Wait…a mother chicken? Why would a mother chicken harass a rescue dog? Oh, right…missing chicks. So, how hard can it be to find a bunch of missing chicks? Hold on, let me ask J. J. Tully. [Pause.] Okay, much harder than finding humans. Humans stink. You can smell them miles away. 

A chick trail is much harder, especially when it’s pouring rain, you’ve got a mom chicken and two other chicks right behind you and a cryptic ransom note. This was the weirdest ransom note I have ever read. I have to read it to you. It says, “I have your peeps. It behooves you to rendezvous. Twilight. Your place.” What?!?! Who talks likes this? This is going to be one crazy, weird mystery.

The Trouble with Chickens: A J. J. Tully Mystery by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Kevin Cornell. 119 pages. Balzer + Bray, 2011. Booktalk to intermediate grades. Virginia Readers’ Choice, 2012-2013.

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