The Trouble with Chickens: A J.J. Tully Mystery
by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Kevin Cornell
Balzer & Bray, 2011
Reviewed from purchased copy.
J.J. Tully is a former search-and-rescue dog who is trying to enjoy his retirement after years of performing daring missions saving lives. So he’s not terribly impressed when two chicks named Dirt and Sugar (who look like popcorn on legs) and their chicken mom show up demanding his help to track down their missing siblings. Driven by the promise of a cheeseburger, J.J. begins to track down clues. Is Vince the Funnel hiding something? Are there dark forces at work—or is J.J. not smelling the evidence that’s right in front of him? (Goodreads.com)The strength of this book is the characters. Tully, the former search-and-rescue dog turned detective, narrates the story. His names for the chickens are oddly appropriate (Moosh, the mom, Dirt, and Sugar for the chicks). The point-of-view of the story makes it good for a read-a-loud. And while the villain is not hard to identify, there is lots of fun to be had using different voices to match the illustrations and tone of the story.
Plot wise there were enough twists and turns to keep me reading, but as other reviewers have mentioned the book is a spoof off of old detective shows and as such has more humor than tension. While the book is certainly not for everyone, I think that I will try it with my second or third graders and see if they like it.
Here are some other reviews:
A Patchwork of Books
Jean Little Library
5 Minutes for Books
And here's a review with the author, Doreen Cronin.