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The Secret Chicken Club: Handprint Books Hardcover – October 1, 2005
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2–The Secret Chicken Club at Wise Acres is only for chickens, but Debbie, the only cow on the farm, feels so lonely and left out that she is finally permitted to join and taught the secret word: Oh. Well, obviously with a secret word that is so often said by unsuspecting animals, confusion and inclusion are sure to follow and, after episodes involving Doug the rooster learning what's really in chicken noodle soup and Debbie being convinced that her shadow has been stolen, everyone on the farm is a member of the club. The bright and colorful cartoon illustrations match well with the zany story, which is divided into three mini-chapters; a tableau of the featured characters prefaces each one. The motif reappears on the endpapers. Children who can follow the birdbrained logic of the members of the Chicken Club will certainly have a few laughs.–Genevieve Gallagher, Murray Elementary School, Charlottesville, VA
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PreS-Gr. 2. Shannon and Zemke offer another round of slapstick episodes set in the same daffy barnyard as Wise Acres (2004). Once again, the text is divided into three short chapters, each focusing on a different animal. In the first, Debbie the dancing cow breaks the species boundary and charms her way into the exclusive Secret Chicken Club. In the second, a rooster sets off in search of "brain food" to sharpen his mind. In the last tale, dancing Debbie loses a beloved object and calls in the whole barnyard gang to uncover its whereabouts. The plots, particularly in the second episode, are somewhat convoluted, and not all of the jokes hit home. Still, the episodic format is well suited for children transitioning from picture books to chapter books. The bright, appealing cartoon illustrations nicely amplify both the silliness and the sense of all-inclusive friendship, as in the final scene of the farm's entire animal population clustered around a delectable birthday cake, because "they all had a birthday in the very same year." Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved