The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin is a book that I had to read for the Virginia Reader's Choice Committee. I'll be honest, I was a little leery (lets face it, some of the choices other people put forth have been kind of a snooze-fest). This was not the case! I LOVED this book! I can't wait to order a copy to have in my classroom. I know that this book is going to fly off my shelves.
Here is the summary from Goodreads:
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?
Bestselling author Doreen Cronin uses her deadpan humor to pitch-perfect effect in her first novel for young readers. Heavily illustrated with black-and-white artwork from Kevin Cornell, this new series is destined to become a classic.
I'll admit, while I was reading this, I had the music from one of those film noir/private investigator films running through my head. I also read JJ's voice as that gravely private investigator voice that is usually the narrator of those movies.
The story was cute, with a twist ending that I didn't expect. The vocabulary wasn't hard, so I don't think my students will have a hard time reading and enjoying this book at all.
Doreen Cronin also authored: Click Clack Moo, Cows that Type, Dooby Dooby Moo, Diary of a Worm, Giggle Giggle Quack, Diary of a Fly, Diary of a Spider and Duck for President. I couldn't find the reading level for The Trouble with Chickens, but the majority of her books are a guided reading level K (which is mid-late second grade).