In this book for early readers, Moreno (Sancho, the Silly Billy Goat, 2016, etc.) uses animal stories to teach lessons from the Bible.
Farmer Gabe and Miss Lizzy are taking care of their son George’s dog, Sugar, and her six puppies: Punkin, Cowboy, Bingo, Midnight Star, Teddy Bear, and Barker. While George and his wife, Marianne, are on a whirlwind tour of Texas, Gabe and Lizzy discover that Sugar has been kidnapped right out of their front yard. While they pursue means to track Sugar down, her mother, Noel, is placed in charge of her own grand-pups. In order to distract the puppies from the distress of their mom being missing, Noel tells them stories about the farm’s history, focusing on the many interesting chickens that have come to roost in its henhouse. She begins with the story of Mr. Roo, a rooster with a very bad attitude, and mentions Princess, a seemingly perfect mother hen; Arky, an Araucana rooster who was mistaken for a hen; and many other unusual fowl. These tales keep the puppies entertained, but they continue to miss their mother until she’s finally found. Each chapter closes with at least one Bible quotation that’s intended to relate to the chicken tale at hand. Debut artist Crum’s graphite illustrations are basic in style. Vocabulary words and phrases are often helpfully bolded and italicized, so that readers may look them up in a glossary at the back of the book. It’s sometimes difficult to see how Noel’s stories relate to the verses at the end of each chapter, but a sense of Christian devotion is clearly evident throughout the narrative. There’s some talk of chicken reproduction, although it’s not detailed, and there are plenty of instances of animal death, which may upset sensitive young readers.
A straightforward, deeply religious book of children’s stories.