Friday, March 21, 2014

Review: The Chicken Squad

The Chicken Squad: Their First Misadventure
By Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Kevin Cornell
Expected publication April 8, 2014 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

The Chicken Squad is a mystery-solving super-team and they are about to get a doozy. When Squirrel rushes into their headquarters, claiming something BIG and SCARY has landed in their yard, the Chicken Squad gets right down to business cracking the case.

I was incredibly excited when I spotted this e-galley on Edelweiss. I really loved the J.J. Tully mysteries that Cronin and Cornell put out a few years back and have been waiting for more to arrive. It seems that, instead of continuing with J.J. as the main character (though he makes an appearance), they've decided to put their eggs in the Chicken Squad basket (I'm sorry, I couldn't resist the terrible pun).

I'm predisposed to like this one less than the J.J. books because I'm afraid of birds. Now, I know that seems silly, but it's a real thing, though chickens are kind of an exception because they don't fly very well. However, I much preferred J.J. (who is a dog) as a main character than the Chicken Squad. I didn't find the chickens as endearing as J.J. and this book lacked the stronger narrative of the others. J.J. had a great narrative voice and I really missed that here. In general, I didn't find this as charming as the J.J. books, and I'm disappointed by that.

However, I really love what Cronin is trying to do here and chickens are popular with the storytime crowd, so these chickens might be good stepping stones for kids getting into chapter books. Mysteries are also great for beginning readers, and very popular, so I imagine this series will be a hit.

Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.

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