cover image Help Wanted: One Rooster

Help Wanted: One Rooster

Julie Falatko, illus. by Andrea Stegmaier. Viking, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-451-47683-8

The Office meets Chicken Run in this workplace comedy, in which an “extremely cool and helpful sheep” reveals how a barnyard solves its productivity problem. When the farm’s rooster becomes distracted by a hobby and ignores his crowing responsibilities, the whole farm begins to oversleep. The farm’s cow (“She has a clipboard. This is a professional cow”) conducts interviews, dismissing each nontraditional candidate for replacement rooster. The first, dressed “in an inexplicable tuxedo,” wants to ring a bell instead of crowing; the second offers to wake everyone with “fresh, hot coffee”; the third, a small brown bird, wants to press a nonexistent button to do the job; and the fourth, a green, transparent blob, answers questions in its own blobby language (“Glarka-glarka-bloo”). It takes the warm cooperation of all four to get things moving, even if their distinctive gifts don’t shift the farm’s status quo. Alongside snappy narration from Falatko (Rick the Rock of Room 214), crisp-edged, graphical artwork by Stegmaier (AAALLIGATOR!) packs visual information into busy spreads in which a gardener rabbit dozes while the hose runs, and an audio speaker signals the rooster’s new interest. Ages 3–5. (June)