Three hens look at a pick-up truck and dream of flight.
This title marks the return of Pip, Midge and Dot, three hens in Stoeke’s long-running battery of chicken tales. They are an endearing triumvirate, if massively untutored in the ways of the world. Here, Pip gazes upon the farmer’s truck and visions of going “out into the wide world” dance in her wee brain. The others are game but a bit queasy…and, frankly, that truck is awful loud. Comes the moment of truth, with Pip bounding off Midge’s head into the truck bed, when Midge and Dot balk, leaving Pip alone in the truck. The truck roars to life, and Pip throws a blanket over her head and behaves like a chicken until the motor stills. She peeks out and, relieved, sees Midge and Dot. Pip struts a bit—“I was so brave”—until she is told the truck went nowhere; it was just turned on and off. Before embarrassment sneaks in, they clap Pip on the back and exclaim at her bravery anyway: She got in the truck! It was loud! Such good comrades, such unconditional love. Stoeke’s sweeps of sherbet colors create a beckoning world, one broken into short chapters and simple text, which make this a bright challenge for early readers.
The lack of perfection is rarely so comically gladdening. (Picture book. 3-5)