cover image Chicken Lily

Chicken Lily

Lori Mortensen, illus. by Nina Victor Crittenden. Holt, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-62779-120-5

Lily, a fearful fowl, still uses training wheels, never raises her hand in class (even when she knows the answer), and won’t try new foods at lunch. “Lily wasn’t taking any chances,” writes Mortensen (Cowboy Clyde and Dirty Dawg). When Lily’s teacher announces a poetry slam, Lily does everything she can to not take part, declaring her home “a poem-free zone” and showing her teacher a long to-do list that includes such items as “Feather my nest” and “Put all my eggs in one basket.” Finally, Lily decides that “writing a poem was sort of like putting together a puzzle,” and while she can’t totally escape stage fright, she’s able to recite her poem without a hitch. Mortensen gooses this story of newfound confidence through the liberal use of chicken-themed wordplay (“She wished she could fly the coop”; “Lily nearly molted”), but her obvious didactic intentions, coupled with Crittenden’s (Cedric and the Dragon) flat, straight-on drawings may hold the attention of only the very youngest readers. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Liza Voges, Eden Street Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Teresa Kietlinski, Prospect Agency. (Mar.) [/em]