When a chicken gets hit by a truck while crossing the road, it ends up on a very different “other side” than intended. Told by a passel of roadkill-turned-ghosts that its new job is to scare people (“It’s cock-a-doodle
-BOO! Time for you!” declares a ghost raccoon), the mild-mannered chicken meta-demurs. “But I don’t want to haunt anyone, especially not innocent readers who are just trying to enjoy a nice story about an unlucky chicken,” it says, adding sotto voce in an audience aside, “Pssst!
Are you OK?” Fed up with being bossed around, the chicken loses its temper—and, while insisting that it’s not scary, frightens its ghostly comrades. An amusing concept and attendant wordplay (“Show a little pluck, Cluck!”) by debut author Geron gets a big assist from Oswald’s marvelous digital illustrations: intricate, iridescent textures; fluorescent colors; and lots of comic exaggeration evoke a spectral world that’s also reassuringly silly. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)