cover image Chicks Run Wild

Chicks Run Wild

Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, illus. by Ward Jenkins, Simon & Schuster, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4424-0673-5

The toddler chicks in this rowdy bedtime book think a good time consists of jumping on the bed, pillow fights, and cartwheels once their Mama closes the bedroom door. Each time Mama discovers the chicks' shenanigans, she settles them down and gives them "One more kiss for each dear child," but it's never long before they are back at it again. Jenkins's rambunctious, roly-poly chicks resemble fuzzy yellow Easter eggs, differentiated by patterned pajamas, a hair bow, and some Harry Potter glasses; all five chicks exude mischief when pretending to sleep, glee when misbehaving, and alarm when Mama finds them out. It's a great concept, though lumbering verse ("They begin a pillow fight/ in the middle of the night./ As the feathers fill the air.../ they see Mama standing there!") deflates some of the excitement. Luckily, Jenkins's artwork has enthusiasm to spare, and he has great fun with the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" ending that has the tired chicks begging Mama to go to sleep and has Mama running wild herself: by painting her toenails and watching a TV romance. Ages 2–6. (Jan.)