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Chicken Cheeks Hardcover – January 6, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 86 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A bear's inspired idea to create a tower of animals in order to reach some honey is all the premise that Hawkes (Library Lion) and debut author Black need to launch an encyclopedia of animal posteriors. As the tower grows, readers learn that, in Hawkes and Black's alternative universe, a duck's rear end may be a tail, but a moose has a caboose, a turkey has a tushy, and a toucan a can. Hawkes's cast runs the gamut of goofy expressions; this smorgasbord of demeanors, coupled with the sheer improbability of the tower (the rhinoceros and giraffe are stacked upside-down on top of a very spindly flamingo), make this a surefire crowd-pleaser. The tower is finally undone by the stinger on a bumblebee, but not before readers' vocabularies have been boosted by 16 ways to refer to buttocks. And if that's not an example of literature enriching our lives, what is? Ages 3–7. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 1—As every parent and teacher knows, little kids giggle over rear ends-and Chicken Cheeks is sure to keep them laughing. It features the hind quarters of animals, complete with silly names for them, from beginning to—well—end: "rhinoceros rump," "penguin patootie," "polar bear derriere," "turkey tushy." The close-up, color-saturated illustrations—which are at the same time obviously hilarious and sneakily deadpan—tell a story. A brown bear stands poised atop a ladder, gazing thoughtfully up the skinny trunk of a tall, branch-free tree. He grabs a duck and sets it on his head. As he does, readers get an eyeful of the duck's rear; the accompanying text merely says "duck tail." Somehow a huge moose finds itself perched on top of the duck's head: "moose caboose." When a chicken precariously clasps the moose's antlers and proceeds to lay an egg on its nose, only the bear is smiling. Credibility is suspended by the time the moose sits on the duck without squashing it. Sixteen animals later, children can only laugh helplessly at the absurd ladder of animals balanced parallel to the tree trunk. By then they're able to see what the bear was trying to do-and how it backfires. Filled with visual jokes and amusing details, Chicken Cheeks is a lot more than a list of words for kids to snicker at.—Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 1080L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (January 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416948643
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416948643
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.5 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #378,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Michael Ian Black is an actor, writer, and comedian best known for co-creating the sketch comedy troupes The State and Stella. He has appeared in many television shows and movies including "Ed," "This is Forty," "Wet Hot American Summer," and the various VH1 "I Love the..." shows.

He has written several books, both for adults and children, and lives in CT with his wife and kids.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I teach Kindergarten and my class LOVED this book. I used it to reinforce several concepts: 1) initial consonant sounds, 2) rhyming pairs, and 3) synonyms. My students are used to the phrase, "Criss-cross applesauce" which basically translates to "sit down with your legs crossed." Chicken Cheeks gave us a multitude of ways of saying this phrase and now, instead of saying "Criss-cross applesauce," I might say, "Sit on your toucan can" and someone might yell out "or your bumblebee bum" and then someone else may yell out, "sit on your deer rear." It brings a giggle and a smile to EVERYONE'S face as all the children quickly sit down and chime in with their own version of 'criss-cross applesauce.' What a wonderful way for English Learners to incorporate and learn language, not to mention, what F-U-N! I say this is THE book for everyone. Sure, it is a bit, shall we say, "out there" but hey! Tongue-in-cheek, errr...beak-in-cheek aside...it is a darling book must-have for any early elementary teacher's library and school library. *I purchased a copy for my school library and my librarian LOVES it.
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Format: Hardcover
It's a fun book. Kids of a particular age love that part of the body. The illustrations are fun, and the "plot" is clever enough.

I give it 3 stars because there just isn't that much intellectual content, and even young kids can enjoy books with something more than a bunch of smelly animals' rear ends on top of each other. (At least he didn't include a donkey's, well, you know...) I found it clever but just not enough words to be memorable.

My favorites were Dr. Seuss, Wanda Gág, Eric Carle, Richard Scarry, Angela Banner, not to mention Edward Lear thrown in for good measure. "Dare I err" on the side of overly critical? I think they had a lot more going on than this book. That said, lest I rumple any feathers, I will buttress the book's reputation if I can - the illustrations are of a rear quality and I could definitely be behind the decision to grab it.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Two things save this book from being a complete waste of time:
1) The illustrations are GREAT! I mean they are 90% of the book so if they weren't great I'm sure this book never would have been published.
2) Kids love butts (or bums, rears, etc.)! At least mine do. They think they are hilarious and this taps into that in a harmless way.

I can't proclaim this to be the best book, or even a book for everyone, but it is cute. You can read the book in about 2 minutes though so it gets old fast - but here's a tip: Look for the ants on every page. There are 2 of them on each page (except for the first page and one other). The ants end up winning out in this story and you have to look closely to find out how. That makes the book "last" a little longer.

Don't look for any profound messages here...just enjoy the silliness!
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Kevin Hawkes' illustrations are fun, creative and colorful with hilarious and relatable expressions on the critters' faces. He's fabulous!

For ages 3-7 or 4-8, I would prefer more text -- a bit of a story or even a rhyme. As an adult (and parent), I found the read unimaginative, lacking and not enjoyable other than "The Ends". (Sorry, Michael) I think the idea of creative bum calling is fun actually but give us a story!!

These colorful illustrations are simple and fun - perhaps more appropriate for a toddler if made into a "chunky" size book that can withstand chewing and tugging. The parent can make up their own story about how the bear enlisted his animal friends to help him reach the honey.

I wouldn't purchase this book for a child 3-8 and wouldn't want the beautiful artwork torn by a child of years younger. I think Simon & Schuster missed the mark here...
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Clever book is less a book and more just captioned pictures.

Sure this book is cute. Yes, it uses several clever synonyms for the posterior (sure to make your kids giggle) and yes, the story is actually told in pictures rather than words.

However, you may find yourself a bit disappointed at the end. There are no sentences in this book at all. Just pictures of animal posteriors with clever captions. That's it, well that and the story told in pictures. If you're looking for a book, keep looking. If you don't mind pictures with captions and following a story in pictures (HINT: look for the ants) then you may have found your book!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I teach four and five year old children in the inner city of our town. These children are from some of the most improvished homes in our area. Many of my children have never been read to, so I am constantly trying to find books that catch their attention right away. Needless to say Chicken Cheeks has become their favorite. We have to read it at least once a week. I have even adopted some of the new vocabulary words in the book to keep them on task, such as put your flamingo fanny on the carpet. They giggle each time! Thanks to my granddaughter bringing this home from the public library, I now own my copy from Amazon. I think this book is outstanding in the field of children's literature and is a must read for all children in elementary school! You'll surely want to sit your chicken cheeks down and have a great read,
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