cover image Hen Lake

Hen Lake

Mary Jane Auch. Holiday House, $17.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1188-7

When Percival the peacock moves into the barnyard, he ruffles all the hens' feathers with his ceaseless boasts. Before long, a dance-mad chicken named Poulette challenges him to compete in a talent contest, and convinces her fellow hens to train as her corps de ballet for ""Hen Lake."" When Percival takes to the stage, he dances, sings an aria from an opera and fans his magnificent tail-all to clamorous applause. But determination-and a little help from the winds from a passing storm-allow Poulette and company to (literally) rise to the occasion and outperform the proud peacock. Auch (Peeping Beauty) uses Poulette to deliver lighthearted snippets (""Break a drumstick,"" she quips to her fellow hens as they ascend the stage), as well as some time-honored advice (""Use your imagination""; ""Believe in yourself!""). The oil pastels conjure up one giggly tableau after another-Poulette, pins clamped in her beak, stitching sequins on a costume; dizzy hens persevering through a sequence of grand jetes; Poulette and Percival in a final, peace-making pas de deux. Talk about Chicken Delight! Ages 5-8. (Sept.)