The Chicken House by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Stephen Gilpin

The Chicken House: Ready-to-Read Level 2 (The Chicken Squad) by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Stephen Gilpin. Simon Spotlight, 2021. 9781534487062

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3

Format: Hardcover

Genre: Animal fiction

What did you like about the book? In The Chicken House, primary grade readers are introduced to the characters and setting of Doreen Cronin’s Chicken Squad and J.J. Tully Mysteries series.  Mother hen Moosh and her four little chickens live in a crowded triangular chicken house, and the chicks each have their own idiosyncrasies that make living together in a small space challenging.  Across the way, farm dog J.J. enjoys a spacious doghouse, with his own bed, water dish and chew toy.  When J.J. heads out one day, the chicks discover that the doghouse is a great fit for their family – finding that his water dish makes a great bathtub and using the chew toy as a massage table.  J.J. is less than thrilled when he comes back, but soon realizes that it’s family that makes a house a home.

Repetitive words and phrases make the text accessible to newly confident readers, and adorable illustrations will keep them entertained.  Each character’s personality and attitude is clearly depicted and explained.  

Anything you did not like about the book? There’s not a lot to the plot of The Chicken House, but it seems to be setting the stage for future adventures of the squad.

To whom would you recommend this book? Young readers who have enjoyed the barnyard antics in Cronin’s Click Clack picture books, but aren’t quite ready for the Chicken Squad chapter books, and fans of cute early reader series like Charlie the Ranch Dog.

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries

Where would you shelve it?  Early readers

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Leigh Russell King, Lincoln Street School, Northborough, Massachusetts.

Date of review: October 28, 2021

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