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Jez Alborough’s Six Little Chicks

The author of Hug and Duck In The Truck is back with a playful tale of some lucky, plucky little chicks!

Forget the three little pigs and think chicks; five little chicks to be precise, with one on the way. But it isn’t Mother Hen who saves the day.

barronseduc_2253_5471420In author/illustrator Jez Alborough’s Six Little Chicks (Barrons, $6.99, ages 2 and up), “The big bad fox is on the prowl.” And who but the ever alert owl is the first farm friend to sound the fox alarm. Despite all her valiant efforts to keep her offspring safe by having them play close to the chicken hut, Mother Hen must also pay attention to her soon-to-hatch egg. While protecting the egg, Mother Hen hears a “HONK HONK HONK!” from a slightly freaked-out fowl. Goose is warning her that “The big bad fox is on the loose.” After looking all around, Mother Hen must return to the egg.

Told in catchy rhyme, Six Little Chicks will entertain toddlers and pre-schoolers with its repetition of sounds like “click, clack, click,” “peck, peck, peck,” and “cheep, cheep, cheep.” Alborough’s artwork always manages to convey both wit and warmth. The animals’ facial expressions are worth the read alone. And while the tale may be a cautionary one, it’s also one of community because Owl and Goose help fend off the hungry fox from a potential feeding frenzy.

The real stars of the story are the five unassuming, playful, plucky and happy-go-lucky, chicks. They are indeed lucky when you find out how they stick it to the fox just in the nick of time! I’ll give no spoilers here, but I will recommend getting the book, an affordable paperback perfect for Easter, springtime and story time.

-Reviewed by Ronna Mandel

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Search and You Shall Find

Illustrating Where’s The Meerkat? ($9.99, Barron’s Publishing, ages 7 and up) must have been great fun for Paul Moran, Stevel Wiltshire and Simon Ecob, not to mention very time consuming! This entertaining and educational book can be described as Where’s Waldo meets a travel encyclopedia. Each two-page spread features a scene from a famous world destination, with one member of a (very cute) meerkat family hidden somewhere in the incredibly detailed, colorful picture. In a separate text box, written by Jen Wainwright, readers can learn a few important facts about the destination. In the back of the book are check lists, with specific items to look for on the pages, expanding the search way beyond the meerkat family.

I, for one, am now addicted to looking at the illustrations to find the meerkats and items on the checklist. What great fun that is! What’s better than a book that you can linger over like this with your children? I love the fact that the book teaches geography in a most clever and entertaining way. This would be a great book to take with you on a long car trip or plane.

Where’s the Meerkat has already been a bestseller in England. Now it has just been released in the U.S. and is sure to be a big hit here as well.

– Reviewed by Debbie Glade

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