This book is very funny! Jonathan Joseph (J. J.) Tully is a retired search and rescue dog whose been forcibly retired and put out to pasture in a big yard in the country. Millicent is a chicken who approaches J. J. about locating her two missing offspring. Vince the Funnel is the evil genius house dog. Together, along with a handful of quirky chicks, they make a story that’s sure to be a hit with young readers.
J. J. narrates The Trouble with Chickens with the blunt, proud arrogance of a private investigator. He really doesn’t like chickens, and he really doesn’t want to take this case. It is his disgruntled wit that makes this story sizzle. Like when he describes the chicks: “They were half yellow, half white–like fuzzy popcorn kernels with feet.” And “She (the chick) reminded me of a splinter I had once–it bothered me, and I was in a much better mood when it was gone.” And the pictures, oh, the pictures! The expressions! I loved them!
I think second and third graders could handle this book easily. There are some tough words, which might make it difficult for struggling readers, but those at grade level could tackle them and learn some vocab in the process. The first grader I read it to, however, had difficulty following the story. The PI stuff was just a little over his head.
A nicely done story that I think stands out from the plethora of mysteries written for this age group.