cover image Chicken Story Time

Chicken Story Time

Sandy Asher, illus. by Mark Fearing. Dial, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3944-4

Children will know that they are in for some poultry-themed hijinks from the first page of this off-kilter story, as a chicken spots a poster for “story time at the library.” As kids stream into the library, the chicken gives readers a knowing glance—she’s ready to make her move. She’s friendly (“The children like the chicken. The chicken likes the children”), well-behaved, and attentive, so the librarian is chill about it (after all, “everyone loves story time”). But as chickens and kids show up in ever-larger numbers (one chicken even slips in through the book return slot), crowd control becomes difficult and proper library behavior goes out the window. What’s a librarian to do? Asher’s (Here Comes Gosling!) poker-faced, repeating text (“One library. One story. Many children. Many chickens”) offers the perfect setup for Fearing’s wonderfully silly and well-choreographed cartooning, which proves that children and chickens are equally skilled at creating chaos. And the resolution points to another advantage of becoming a reader: you can lead a cross-species story time yourself. Ages 3–5. [em]Illustrator’s agent: Sean McCarthy, Sean McCarthy Literary. (Dec.) [/em]