All By Myself!
In this anything but homespun story about farmyard chicks—the typography and design have an unexpectedly crisp feel—Anthony’s mother has left him “all by myself” in the chicken coop. All alone except for his fellow chicks Ivan, Lily, Leonard, and Shirley, that is. The chicks worry about all the things that might prevent their mother hens from returning; worrywart Shirley howls with fear about the fox that the chicks imagine might come to get them. “I can’t take it anymore!” she shrieks. “He’s going to eat us alive!” “Stop it, Shirley!” the others tell her, exasperated with her histrionics. But despite the chicks’ worst fears, the hens return promptly with grain, which Anthony insists on eating “all by myself!” The presence of the other chicks means that Anthony is never completely on his own, and the suspense stays strictly manageable. Added visual novelty comes from the chicks themselves, which Saudo has fashioned from smooth pebbles painted yellow, then photographed and embellished with delicate digital features. Collet’s well-developed characters and lively dialogue provide a read-aloud pick-me-up. Ages 3–6. (Mar.)