cover image The Missing Chick

The Missing Chick

Valeri Gorbachev, . . Candlewick, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-3676-0

Although Gorbachev's (Turtle's Penguin Day ) whimsical characters are more original than the accompanying text, children who worry about getting lost will find the ending to this simple story extremely satisfying. When the excitable Mrs. Duck points out that one of Mother Hen's seven chicks is gone, the entire neighborhood comes together to find it. Expert watercolor and pen drawings produce an amusing cast—uniformed police dogs, a detective cat, eager beaver firefighters and a plethora of folksy neighbors in overalls and layered skirts. The book's strength rests less in its plot than in the visual details that invite subsequent readings. On nearly every page, increasing numbers of professionals with sirens, flashlights, helicopters, ladders, vehicles and walkie-talkies swarm Mother Hen's house with stoic determination, in contrast to Mrs. Duck's laments (“It's awful, awful, awful!”). Mrs. Duck loudly runs amok until she finds the seventh chick sound asleep in the laundry. A parting image that shows a baby chick asleep in an apron hanging from the clothesline suggests that another search will begin soon. Ages 3–5. (Apr.)