Mary Jane Auch, , illus. by Mary Jane and Herm Auch. . Holiday, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1704-9

The yolk's on readers, thanks to Auch's familiar feathered friends (who premiered in Bantam of the Opera, the first of what the publisher calls the "poultry parodies"), who fly to new heights in this escape-from-the-chicken-factory tale with a winning moral. Henrietta's aunts make fun of her for reading instead of laying eggs, but they also don't realize that when the farmer carts them away on "vacation," they are actually headed for the "Souper Soup" factory (only Henrietta can read the sign on the truck). Henrietta tracks the aunts down from the label on a soup can, follows the instructions on the security system to plan their escape, and uses a vegetarian newsletter in a rural mailbox to find refuge from chicken-eating humans. Filled with the author's trademark puns—the Souper Soup men joke with the farmer about Henrietta (" 'Sure, she's a cream of a chicken. It'll be egg drop all over the place once she gets started!' 'No wonder you're wonton to keep her' ")—the story also boasts nicely drawn stock characters and a story line that never gets sidetracked. The artists' (who first teamed up for The Princess and the Pizza) illustrations use cut-and-pasted computer images of chicken feathers, fabric, soup cans and, most charmingly, reading glasses strung librarian-style around Henrietta's neck; they paint facial expressions and other details by hand. Figures and feathers fly across the spreads until the very last page, when readers can breathe a sigh of relief. A fine addition to the Auchs' eggcellent library. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)