Unfolding in short, bouncy rhymes, this atypical counting book fills its pages with a flock of chickens enjoying a day at the county fair.
What distinguishes this counting book is that the number of chickens to count on each double-page spread is neither simple nor sequential. There are chickens everywhere, reminiscent of Richard Scarry, with as many as 35 or more chicks, hens, and roosters on the pages. They ride the Ferris wheel and merry-go-round, toss balls at the dunk tank and teddy bear booth, and cheer at the grasshopper-tart contest. The rhymes go down easy: “Chickens on the Ferris wheel / shriek with laughter, scream and squeal. / Chicken sister cannot speak— / cotton candy in her beak!” While the short rhymes relate the action, the boisterous chickens take center stage. Digitally colored pencil illustrations use small, simple shapes to describe the chickens, but they are individually dressed in a broad range of fair attire: plaid shirts, jeans, vests, frilly dresses. The chickens are depicted in a wide range of plumage colors, and details in the clothing make it possible to follow some chicks across pages. Visual puns will make adults giggle: the Dixie Chickens perform onstage, as do the Blues Brothers. Backmatter has a simple quiz with answers, but there is no key listing the actual count of chickens per spread.
There is so much feathered fun here, it’s pure poultry in motion. (Picture book. 4-7)