Friday, November 03, 2006


CHICKENS TO THE RESCUE by John Himmelman (Holt)
When Farmer Greenstalk drops his watch down the well, it's chickens to the rescue! When Mrs. Greenstalk is too tired to make dinner, guess what? Chickens to the rescue! When the big wind blows a cow into a tree, have no fear! Chickens to the rescue! Whether a dog has eaten the homework, sheep wander off into the woods, or Ernie the duck takes off with the truck, it's chickens saving the day in the most hilarious and cooperative way, every day of the week, or so it seems...come Sunday, when Emily Greenstalk spills her breakfast, will she find our heros come to the rescue, or are they having their day of rest? A surprise ending gives lovely, laugh-out loud closure to a near- perfect picture book, full of page after page of the kind of visual wit that mark the works of Sandra Boynton (MOO, BAA, LA LA LA) and Betsy Lewin (CLICK, CLACK, MOO: COWS THAT TYPE, with Doreen Cronin). With chickens typing on computer keyboards and looking decidedly peeved at reckless duck driving habits, this book rescues us from the picture-book blahs, with a message that manages to create a provocative balance between the need to cooperate to get things done and the need to sometimes come to our own darn rescue. (5 and up)

Also of interest:
MANNY'S COWS: THE NIAGARA FALLS TALE by Suzy Becker (HarperCollins) Preposterous story of young Manny who decides it's time to go on vacation, even if it means shlepping his five hundred milk cows along with him. Factual sidelines about the care and feeding of cows mixes like butter with Becker's sketchy cartoons and a story that somehow, crazily, manges to get us to suspend our belief and root for our hard-working hero (though he might need a vacation after this vacation). A barrel of laughs. (5 and up)

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