cover image Cheep! Cheep!

Cheep! Cheep!

Julie Stiegemeyer, , illus. by Carol Baicker-McKee. . Bloomsbury, $9.95 (21pp) ISBN 978-1-58234-682-3

Take a family of adorable, three-dimensional chickens—constructed from velvety, cozily domestic terry cloth—add a text made up entirely of words with a giggle-inducing "eep" sound, and the result is this irresistible, inventive paper-over-board book. "Sleep" starts off the first spread, where a chicken family tries to get some shut-eye. A turn of the page shows a "Cheep" coming from the egg below their perch. Making a joint "Leap!" (the smallest chick uses its blankie as a parachute) the peeping protagonists land in a comic "Heap" and eagerly welcome their newest addition. Baicker-McKee (the FussBusters series) gives her absorbent cast minimalist facial features and highly streamlined appendages (the two-color backdrops are equally spare). But she comes up with an amazing array of expressions and comic poses; when the reconstituted family settles down on the perch for a group slumber party, the two smallest downy siblings share a priceless conspiratorial wink and hug. Young children will undoubtedly view the chick family as toys come to life and be thoroughly enchanted. Here's hoping another diphthong inspires a follow-up from this talented team. Ages 2-4. (Mar.)