J.J. is a retired search-and-rescue dog, who is bored with
life in the country with his trainer. When a chicken
approaches and asks him to find her missing chicks, he's
right on the case -- expecting payment in the form of a
cheeseburger. A ransom note appears, and when the clues
lead right into the house, J.J. realizes that he is going
to have confront his nemesis, Vince "The Funnel," a dog who
never leaves the house. But Vince isn't in this by
himself, and J.J.'s going to have to watch out before
everyone find themselves in danger.
The only human involved, the trainer who owns the house, is
out of town, allowing the animals center stage.
This beginner's chapterbook contains a few words that
challenge the young vocabulary, but are presented in a
way that invites a lesson in the use of a dictionary.
The lengths Sugar, one of the young chickens, is willing to
go to get her hands -- er, wings -- on good books to read
may well inspire young readers to seek out even more books.
J.J. tells enough about search and rescue dogs that a
nonfiction book on the subject might make a good tie-in.
And, as the front matter calls this a J.J. Tully Mystery, we
can expect to hear more of J.J.'s adventures.
I found the voice in this book charming. J.J. reminded me
of a cross between Humphrey Bogart and Hank the Cowdog.
The illustrations (provided by Kevin Cornell) were equally
appealing, especially the four chicks with their oversize
heads. The only problem I had with the story was that the
chicken who was the cause of much of THE TROUBLE WITH
CHICKENS doesn't actually get in trouble, which could send
a child reader mixed messages.
It was a hot, sunny day when I met that crazy chicken.
So hot that sometimes I think the whole thing may have
been a mirage.
But mirages don't have chicken breath, mister.
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, JJ 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