The Trouble with Chickens: A J.J. Tully Mystery

The Trouble with Chickens: A J.J. Tully Mystery

By: Doreen Cronin
Illustrated by: Kevin Cornell
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Publication Date: March 2011
ISBN: 978-0061215322
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: March 2011

Jonathan Joseph Tully, that’s J.J. to his friends, is a retired search-and-rescue dog. During his amazing career he has pulled a guy out of a snowy cave, been lowered from a helicopter, and even flown to France to find a skier lost in the Alps. But he’s never been asked to find a couple of baby chickens…until now.

J.J. has been enjoying the retired life in the country but that all comes to a crashing end the day Mother hen Millicent, Moosh for short, asks for his help. The poor chicken is frantic because two of her four chicks have gone missing. Moosh agrees to pay J.J. with a cheeseburger and so he reluctantly, but hungrily, agrees to begin a search-and-rescue. Along with Sugar and Dirt, the two remaining chicks, they set out to solve the mystery of the missing chicks.

The search for Poppy and Sweetie, the missing chicks, takes some unexpected and funny turns and eventually pits the “Hero Dog,” (J.J.) against a dachshund with a big attitude who was “born brilliant.” The chicks, too, have some attitude issues and are partially to blame for the hysterics that befall J.J. as the story unfolds. And the best part? The whole mess was started when somebody (can’t tell you who!) just had to read a really good book.

Told in the first person by J.J. (with a few chapters narrated by the naughty dachshund, Vince the Funnel), this tale is reminiscent of film noir, but with a comical twist. There is plenty of action, lots of great illustrations that perfectly catch the mood of the tale, and text that should be easy to follow for the early chapter book reader. While the mystery of the missing chicks is solved about halfway through the book, there is still plenty for J.J. to do since the chicks need rescuing and he is, after all, a search-and-rescue dog! I’d rate this book two paws up for fun and entertainment!

Quill says: Silly, cute, and fun – the perfect combination for an early chapter book.

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