cover image Chicken Butt

Chicken Butt

Erica S. Perl, , illus. by Henry Cole. . Abrams, $12.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8109-8325-0

Dad is engrossed in the paper, which of course makes him a ripe target for a silliness offensive by his son. “You know what?” says the boy, with a gleam in his eyes worthy of Bart Simpson. “What?” says unsuspecting parent, as a wide-eyed chicken peers around the corner, conspicuously out of place in their living room. “CHICKEN BUTT!” shouts the son, the words plastered on the airborne fowl's expansive backside. An increasingly hysteric call and response ensues, in which Chicken gives a hyper performance, Dad moves from bemused to exasperated and Perl (Ninety-Three in My Family ) manages to rhyme “You know how?” with “chicken eyebrow” and “You know who?” with “chicken tattoo.” Cole (the Katy Duck series), as wryly effervescent as ever, doesn't try to make this story anything more than it is: one of those treasured (by kids at least) moments of parent-child interaction that has no redeeming social value. When he covers a spread with “CHICKEN BUTT!” scrawled a dozen times on top of 18 emotive chickens, it's clear that mania is the message. Ages 3–6. (Apr.)