Friday, July 13, 2012
I'm linking up with The Teaching Thief today for her fabulous weekly segment that reviews the best in kid's literature. For my pick this week:
The Trouble with Chickens
by Doreen Cronin
I always run into a big problem as a fifth grade teacher recommending books to my students who are below grade level. With that in mind, I went searching for a book at about a third grade reading level. I found a fabulous book list here which guided me as I perused the shelves of Barnes and Noble.
First, I must say, that I was lying in bed reading, I did say to myself several times that I was reading a book about a talking dog and talking chickens. That said, I found this book really funny.
J.J. Tully is a recently retired search-and-rescue dog living out the rest of his days in self-proclaimed boredom in a quiet house in the country. Dozing in his dog house one day, a chicken named Moosh comes for his help in finding her two missing chicks. J.J. reluctantly agrees to take the case for a cheeseburger.
While the plot is quite simple with a memorable bad guy named Vince the funnel - an inside dog wearing a cone, what makes this story entertaining is that it's written as a first-person detective noir crime novel. Check out the opening lines:
It was a hot sunny day when I met that crazy chicken.
So hot that sometimes I think that the whole thing may have been a mirage.
But mirages don't have chicken breath, mister.
Throughout the entire book, I thought of L.A. Confidential and wondered, will kids get this? Will they find it as funny as I do or will they miss it because they don't know the genre?
The Trouble with Chickens was a satisfying mystery with a few plot twists. I will definitely be recommending it to some of my students to get their opinion on it as well.
Posted by JoAnn at 6:28 PM