Chickens Dirt, Sugar, Poppy and Sweetie are back!
These chickens profess to solve all sorts of mysteries, but soon it becomes evident that they are more likely just to stir up trouble. Luckily, retired search-and-rescue pooch J.J. Tully is keeping an eye on all things chicken. In this outing, a blue jay (or weird blue chicken, if you are on the Chicken Squad) reads the squad’s flier and comes for help. Someone has taken the jay’s house, and the little bird wants it back. After a hilarious cross-examination, Dirt and Sugar realize that brother Poppy is the thief. But why—and how—did little Poppy move the wooden house? The plot thickens when a squirrel shows up, complaining of stolen acorns and requesting a hammer. These mysteries sort themselves out in a typically comic manner, with Sweetie, the littlest chicken, relegated to an old shoe, playing a critical role. Cornell’s frequent black-and-white art turns up the volume on the humor and helps new chapter-book readers keep up with the plot. Tully makes a brief appearance at the beginning and end, taking all the credit. Everyone learns a lesson: The blue jay learns the difference between inches and feet, the squad learns to listen to Sweetie, and the squirrel learns to eat fruit.
New readers have a terrific new series to laugh over. (Mystery. 6-9)