cover image Hide and Go Beak (The Great Mathemachicken #1)

Hide and Go Beak (The Great Mathemachicken #1)

Nancy Krulik, illus. by Charlie Alder. Pixel + Ink, $12.99 (96p) ISBN 978-1-64595-032-5

In 11 chapters, this smart, sprightly chapter book series starter stars a chick named Chirpy, whose number-patterned bow is an immediate tip-off that the coop can’t contain her STEM curiosity. Interested in why things fall and frustrated with her less intellectually rigorous friends, she stows away on a school bus and spends the day in the classroom of Mrs. Zoober, who’s teaching how simple machines leverage the power of gravity. This knowledge comes in handy when Chirpy returns home (they don’t serve chicken feed in the school lunchroom) and discovers that sibling Clucky may be in the clutches of a hungry fox. Rallying her fearful family and friends (“You can’t all be scared,” Chirpy tells her trembling family; “Why do you think they call us chickens?” is the reply), she builds a fox trap that’s equal parts engineering science and Rube Goldberg machine. Short, dialogue-driven paragraphs by Krulik (the Princess Pulverizer series) are peppered with “eggs-tra” humor and chicken wordplay (one of Chirpy’s mother’s friends is named Princess Lay-a), while Alder’s (Doggo and Pupper) cartoon spot illustrations, rendered in tones of yellow, gray, and black, provide plenty of visual characterization. Ages 5–8. Author’s agent: Kenneth Weinrib, Franklin, Weinrib, Rudell & Vassallo. Illustrator’s agent: Anne Moore Armstrong, the Bright Agency. (Jan.)