Module 9: The Trouble with Chickens by Doreen Cronin

Book Title: The Trouble with Chickens

Author: Doreen Cronin

Illustrator: Kevin Cornell

Publisher: HarperCollins

Published Date: 2011


J.J. Tully is a retired detective dog. He was sent to live out his retirement at the farm. Little did he know that his detective work would be needed here almost as much as on the job. A story packed with chickens and an evil dauschand will have the reader laughing and turning the pages.

APA Reference:

Cronin, D. (2011). The trouble with chickens. New York, NY: HarperCollins.


This is a cute read that took me an hour to read. The drawings are fun and the story is short and sweet.

Professional Review:

Popular farmyard chronicler Cronin (Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, illustrated by Betsy Lewin, 2000, etc.) makes the jump to middle-grade fiction in this faux-hard-boiled mystery featuring talking animals. Her deadpan humor is much m evidence as she describes the circumstances under which retired search-and-rescue dog J.J. Tully undertakes the case of the missing chick. Puns abound, and J.J. is definitely not quite as clever as he believes himself to be, allowing readers to gently laugh at as well as with him. Sophisticated vocabulary and a complicated plot suggest the older range of readers as the most likely audience, but frequent illustrations and a relatively large font should make the story accessible to the younger end as well. Cornell’s black-and-white drawings extend both the humor and the action. In some pictures J.J. is slightly reminiscent of Scooby-Doo, another canine sleuth, while in others he is both distinctive and dogged in his determination to solve the puzzle. The chickens, mother and four chicks, are seriously silly looking and utterly adorable, which suits their surprisingly rounded characters just right. Finding out how ‘Wince the Funnel” fits in, whether J.J. is being double-crossed by his client and how the climactic rescue will be resolved should keep readers engaged while Cronin’s constant word-play will keep them giggling. Fast and funny.

(2011). The trouble with chickens. Kirkus Reviews, 79(4), 307.

Library Uses:

Learning how to be detectives can be fun. This story is a good start to show how mysteries can be fun and entertaining.


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