by Doreen Cronin
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: April 8 2014
Genre: Children's Fiction
Book Synopsis: They’re darling. They’re daring. They know their shapes! They’re chicks on a mission—and on this, their first (mis)adventure, the Chicken Squad launches a galactic backyard expedition.
Meet the Chicken Squad: Dirt, Sugar, Poppy, and Sweetie. These chicks are not your typical barnyard puffs of fluff, and they are not about to spend their days pecking chicken feed and chasing bugs. No sir, they’re too busy solving mysteries and fighting crime.
So when Squirrel comes barreling into the chicken coop, the chicks know they’re about to get a case. But with his poor knowledge of shapes (“Big” is not a shape, Squirrel!) and utter fear of whatever it is that’s out there, the panicky Squirrel is NO HELP. Good thing these chicks are professionals.
But even professionals get worried. Especially once they see that round, shiny, green, BIG thing in the yard. What if it’s a UFO full of aliens who want chickens as pets? It’s up to the Chicken Squad to crack a case that just might be out of this world.
My Thoughts: What a fun, creative book. This is a spin-off from Cronin's J.J. Tulley Mysteries. The chickens now have their own stories, although J.J. is still a integral part - retired, and their protector.
Doreen Cronin is very well known for her silly animal stories - many of which I have in my classroom library. In The Chicken Squad, Cronin once again has managed to pack so much within a story. There is humor, a familiar dog, a "big and scary" mystery, very charismatic and personable chicks, and even a little geometry.
This book is an excellent beginning chapter book. It is easy to follow. Readers are immediately introduced to the characters and quickly drawn into a humorous mystery. Children will be easily attracted to the ridiculous interactions and situations. the vocabulary is pretty simple, and there is enough repetition that will make it easy for a struggling reader to catch on. The pattern and structure of the text lend itself for a perfect read-aloud book. It would be a story that children would not want to put down, but continue to read or listen to.
As a third grade teacher, I see this as a book I want to have in my classroom. I am always looking for good chapter books - especially ones that my lower readers will be able to pick up and read independently. This will be a book that my children will read and eagerly share with others.
I see this book later becoming a children's animated cartoon. I think the writing, the characters, as well as the cute illustrations have already allowed me to create an animated cartoon in my mind.
About the Author: Doreen Cronin was a practicing attorney in Manhattan when her first book Click, Clack Moo: Cows That Type became a publishing success.Â But her book was not published overnight, in fact, she had written this barnyard tale even before attending law school but only received rejection letters from publishers. Five years after submitting the original manuscript she got a call from a publisher who wanted to turn her story into a book and the rest is history!
The busy life of a writer left no room for courtroom litigation and arbitration so Doreen made the leap to being a full-time children’s book author.Â She then teamed up once again with illustrator Betsy Lewin to write another hilarious barnyard tale, Giggle, Giggle, Quack, that continues the escapades of these lovable animals on a farm.
In Doreen’s latest book, Diary of a Worm, she explores the daily life of a lovable worm.Â Who knew that the underground dwellings and activities of worms could be so funny.Â Readers may even find that worm’s life is much the same as theirs except worm eats his homework and his head looks a whole lot like his rear!
Doreen was born in Queens and grew up in Long Island.Â She graduated from Pennsylvannia State University and St. John’s University School of Law.Â She currently resides in New York with her husband and dog “Ruffie.” Author Website Goodreads Series Website