Chicken Squad
by Cronin, Doreen; Cornell, Kevin (ILT)

When the squirrel Tail comes barreling into the chicken coop ranting about a round, shiny, green, big, scary thing in the yard, Dirt, Sweetie, Poppy, and Sugar investigate this strange object.

Doreen Cronin is the author of many bestselling and New York Times bestselling picture books, including Click, Clack, Quack to School!Click, Clack, Surprise!Click, Clack, Ho, Ho, HoClick, Clack, PeepClick, Clack, Boo!Dooby Dooby MooThump, Quack, Moo: A Whacky AdventureBounceWiggleDuck for PresidentGiggle, Giggle, QuackBloom; and the Caldecott Honor Book Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type as well as The Chicken Squad series and Cyclone. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit her at

Kevin Cornell's secret spy headquarters are located in Philadelphia. He has successfully accomplished several thrilling missions, including illustrating Mustache! and Count The Monkeys by Mac Barnett, the Chicken Squad series by Doreen Cronin, and the Lulu series by Judith Viorst. Leave a coded message for him at

When a terrified squirrel barges into a backyard chicken coop looking for help, four tough little chicks patiently draw out his story and try to figure out what frightened the panicky critter. Deducing that a UFO may have landed in the yard, chicks Dirt, Sugar, Poppy, and Sweetie camouflage themselves with grass clippings and pelt the new (vaguely UFO-like) barbecue grill with rocks in a misguided attempt to rescue Moosh, their mom. Retired search-and-rescue dog J. J. Tully charges in to stop the attack and set things straight. If the characters sound familiar, they appeared in the J. J. Tully Mystery series. Now the four little chicks move into the spotlight for the Chicken Squad series. With its shorter text and larger type, the book will suit somewhat younger readers, those just moving up to chapter books. As in the previous series, some chapters are written in third person, while others are narrated by the dog. Cornell's comical gray-wash illustrations magnify the story's mild humor. An amusing beginning chapter book. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

In this delightful spinoff of the J.J. Tully series, this time the chickens are in charge-sort of. When "dumb squirrel" Tail is terrified by something big and scary in the yard, the Chicken Squad (Dirt, Sugar, Poppy and Sweetie) is on the case. Not only do they work to build Tail's pitiful vocabulary, these chickens will make readers laugh while doing it. Soon, Tail's description goes from "big and scary" to "huge and terrifying," and following a bonk to the head, he describes the thing in the yard as "a big, shiny circle…a dark shade of green…it made a weird hissing and popping noise…it interrupted the atmosphere." Cronin keeps the mystery moving right along, allowing it to build at just the right pace for new readers to guess along with the silly chickens. Of course, it takes J.J. Tully, the retired search-and-rescue hound, to figure it out and save the day. Just don't tell the Chicken Squad. Each page turn rewards readers with a humorous illustration that explains and extends the text-and helps children figure out some of the more difficult words from picture clues. Most of the more challenging words are repeated many times as the chickens recount the story for each other and Tail, making this a great first chapter book. (Comic mystery. 6-9) Copyright Kirkus 2014 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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