cover image My Friend Chicken

My Friend Chicken

Chronicle Books, Adam McCauley. Chronicle Books, $9.95 (28pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-2327-2

Fashionably postmodern art teams up, somewhat problematically, with a sweet text in this debut. If thunder rrrumbled and lightning crack-acked/ If the sky rained down pink lemonade.../.../ I wouldnt notice! the narrator announces at the outset. When a psychedelic bus drives by and when giraffes tango on her bedroom rug, she doesnt even blink. She is missing her friend Chickena human-size bird, pink with a blue headand for all the whimsy of the text, the girls sense of longing is palpable. Did he fly off to visit the moon? she wonders, imagining her friend soaring past constellations that are diagrammed with dots and lines, as in a science textbook. Nothing is as fun without you here, she sighs. At last the doorbell rings and Chickens jaunty arrival brings closure to the story. Theres a hint of an ironic, retro aesthetic in the volumes trim size, which matches that of a 45 RPM record, and in the nostalgic typeface, reminiscent of a classic ink-ribbon typewriter. The art is quirky but derivativea bit like Dan Yaccarino or Julia Gorton in the outlandish proportions of the characters; a bit like Henrik Drescher or Lane Smith in the absurdity department. The pictures give the book a flippant tone; its as if McCauley the artist were winking at the audience, telling readers not to take his story too seriously. All ages. (Apr.)