cover image Chico the Brave

Chico the Brave

Dave Horowitz. Penguin/Paulsen, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-399-25636-3

With his characteristically broad humor and adult-savvy jokes, Horowitz (The Pretty, Pretty Bunny) offers a folksy tale about a yellow chick named Chico who learns to tame his fears. Chico, who lives “in the mountains of Peru,” is afraid of everything, including his own shadow (“Help! I’m being followed...”). But when his father tells him the (made-up) story of the Golden Chicken, Chico decides to ask the mythical chicken what makes him so brave. The villains of the piece are “the dreaded Llama Llama Gang from Cashapampa,” who tell Chico to seek the Golden Chicken on a tall, scary mountain, where Chico is caught by a wind and manages to fly despite his scrawny wings—and save his town from the llama gang. Horowitz renders the droll comedy in bright acrylic scenes lined with loose black pencil; his chickens have orange cones for beaks, and the none-too-scary llama gang dresses in Peruvian garb and drinks “Llamonade.” The theme is underscored by the epigraph from John Wayne: “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.” Ages 5–8. Agent: Wernick and Pratt Agency. (May)