What could be more entertaining than a story of cooped-up chickens planning their own escape? That is, unless you're a chicken-eating, chicken-hoarding fox, in which case it's not an amusing story at all. Barkus Fox and his cousin Sly are as foxy as they come. In the dead of night, they steal whatever they like from the town citizens, including chickens for supper. Enter Biddy, Bluff, and Tweed, three hens who refuse to be served with cream sauce. Trapped in the fox's shed after their rude capture, they hatch an ingenious plan to fly the coop. As the salivating fox comes to fetch one to cook the next day, clever Tweed manages to convince Sly that Biddy has the ability to lay golden eggs--and that if he eats one of them
, she will be too upset to do it. Will Sly fall for the trick? Who will ultimately outfox whom? Sally Anne Lambert's lovely watercolor illustrations--too pretty for such greedy rogues, really--add to the old-fashioned flavor of this classic, happy-ending tale of foxes and chickens. (Ages 5 to 8) --Karin Snelson
From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2-Two fox cousins are up to no good. They spend their nights stealing, and their shed is filled with loot. Biddy, Bluff, and Tweed, three chickens stolen by the dishonest duo, are being held captive until such time as they will be served up for the dastardly pair's dinner. But Tweed has a plan. Poking through the treasures, she discovers a box of gold utensils including a little ladle, and she convinces Sly that Biddy is about to lay a golden egg. Then, with the assistance of a plum cake supplied by one of the culprits, he convinces each of them that the other has run off with the prize. The chickens escape, leaving a trail of golden knives and forks, which leads the farmer and townspeople to their stolen treasures. Having the universal appeal of the weak outwitting the strong, the story is told with delicious humor and good pacing, and the pleasing watercolor illustrations add much detail to the clever text. Variety in size and placement of the pictures creates a nice artistic balance and the colors glow with warmth. The foxes' size and posture convey the danger they represent to the chickens, yet their menace is tempered by their foolishness, and one picture of the two resting by the fire after dinner is a benign scene reminiscent of Wind in the Willows. Chicken personalities, too, are conveyed through gesture and facial expression. A grand package.Marie Orlando, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
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