cover image Queenie, One of the Family

Queenie, One of the Family

Bob Graham. Candlewick Press (MA), $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-0359-5

Graham's (Crusher Is Coming!) quirky tale of a chicken and her adoptive family will have animal lovers cheering. Caitlin's father rescues a bantam from drowning in the lake and, as they nurse Queenie back to health, she becomes one of the family. After Caitlin and her parents return the grateful fowl to a nearby farm, she makes a daily migration back to lay an egg in Bruno the dog's bed. When the family gains a new baby, the hen surprises them with a few new additions of her own. Graham's light touch keeps the simple text afloat. The dot-eyed, bulb-nosed characters often wear blank expressions, but nonetheless, in their actions and poses, exude an innocence and a strong sense of family togetherness. His watercolor-and-ink cartoon-style panels and double-spread compositions convey the gently humorous details of a comfortably progressive lifestyle: Mom's hair is bright pink and Dad sports a ponytail and earring while showing off his knitting skills. Children will giggle at the several false endings, but Queenie and Caitlin enthusiasts will hope there's another story about the endearing pair in the works. Ages 5-8. (Oct.)