Rummanah Aasi
  As a younger reader, I devoured mysteries. I would read every Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books that I can find. I think the younger me would get a kick out of Doreen Cronin's canine sleuth J.J. Tully and join him in his investigations.

Description: J.J. Tully is a former search-and-rescue dog who is trying to enjoy his retirement after years of performing daring missions saving lives. So he's not terribly impressed when two chicks named Dirt and Sugar (who look like popcorn on legs) and their chicken mom show up demanding his help to track down their missing siblings. Driven by the promise of a cheeseburger, J.J. begins to track down clues. Is Vince the Funnel hiding something? Are there dark forces at work - or is J.J. not smelling the evidence that's right in front of him?

Review: The Trouble with Chickens invokes the style and sense of classic hard-boiled mysteries in its deadpan humor and wonderful cast of colorful taking animals. Our narrator, J.J. Tully is a retired search-and-rescue dog who reluctantly undertakes the case of the missing chicks. J.J. may be a good at his profession but he is definitely not quite as clever as he believes himself to be, allowing readers to gently laugh at as well as with him.
  In he illustrations J.J. reminds me a little of the cartoon classic Scooby-Doo though his focus is much sharper on solving the mystery of the sudden disappearance of the two chicks. In contrast the chickens, mother and four chicks are seriously silly looking and very cute especially when they continue to challenge and exasperate J.J.  and fits their well rounded characters too. "Vince the Funnel" a character who has dark undertones also evokes our sympathy and a raised eyebrow at his cunning abilities.
  This slim book is a nice segway between chapter books and novel length books for younger readers. Though the font size is large the chapters are short, and there frequent illustrations, there is also sophisticated vocabulary and a complicated plot that makes this book appropriate for a wide range of readers. I also loved Cronin's constant word-play that made the pages go faster. The Trouble with Chickens is a great pick for young mystery readers as well as animal lovers.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for strong Grade 2 readers and up.

If you like this book try: The Legend of Diamond Lil (A J.J. Tully Mystery) by Deoreen Cronin, Stick Dog by Tom Watson
4 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    Look at their little fat, round heads Rummanah! I LOVE THEM! I would buy this book for the illustrations alone, those little chicks just make me happy. And of course I'm a huge dog lover, so this book is pretty much an all around win for me. I'm already smiling just thinking of him being far less clever than he thinks he is:)

  2. Oh and that cover is SO cute! Oh I'm so going to have to recommend this one to my cousins. Animal lovers and I'm betting on loving the mystery too!

  3. I love books with talking animals! The concept of this one seems really cute and I like that it can be read by a variety of different ages since the vocabulary is sophisticated. I'll see if I can find this in the library for my brother and cousin. Thanks for the recommendation, Rummanah!

  4. Sounds adorable! I love the thought of a search and rescue dog being the detective! My niece isn't quite old enough for it yet but I might have to get it for myself!

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