Mary McBlicken is one panicky prairie chicken.
While out on the grasslands one day, Mary the prairie chicken hears a terrible rumbling and grumbling. Sure it’s a stampede, she runs away lickety-split to warn Cowboy Stan and Red Dog Dan; they’ll know what to do. Along her pell-mell flight, she meets in turn Jeffrey Snog the prairie dog, Beau Grabbit the jackrabbit and June Spark the meadowlark, and Mary succeeds in freaking them all out. Everyone runs until they meet Slim Brody the coyote. He says he knows a shortcut to the ranch. A few quick turns lead to a suspicious-looking tunnel. The friends know something’s up, and their squawking attack brings Cowboy Stan and Red Dog Dan running. The two (horse and Chihuahua) chase away that nasty coyote …and the whole crew discover what the rumbling and grumbling really was: Mary’s stomach! It’s supper time. Hopkins’ prairie take on “Chicken Little” is made storytime perfect by Cole’s characteristically hysterical, watercolor-and–colored-pencil cartoons of goggle-eyed critters. It’s also a nice twist that Mary and her friends save themselves from the coyote rather than ending up as lunch or requiring outside assistance. The prairie animals (some not mentioned in the text) make this a nice addition to cross-curricular libraries, though it’s too bad there is no additional information as a backmatter bonus.
Nevertheless, good fun to share in a lap or with a group. (Picture book. 3-7)