Chicken Cheeks
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Chicken Cheeks

4.7 8
by Michael Ian Black, Kevin Hawkes

Some bears will go to any length to get some honey. This one recruits every animal that comes along to form, well, a stack. The result? Tail of the duck to the gluteus maximus of the duck-billed platypus (with many other rears in between). Readers will giggle with delight at the bird's eye view of some hysterical animal bottoms. Follow this back-sided journey up


Some bears will go to any length to get some honey. This one recruits every animal that comes along to form, well, a stack. The result? Tail of the duck to the gluteus maximus of the duck-billed platypus (with many other rears in between). Readers will giggle with delight at the bird's eye view of some hysterical animal bottoms. Follow this back-sided journey up the tree - where the real surprise awaits. The pairing of Black's minimal text with Hawkes's visual story line will keep you chuckling from the bottom up.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

A bear's inspired idea to create a tower of animals in order to reach some honey is all the premise that Hawkes (Library Lion) and debut author Black need to launch an encyclopedia of animal posteriors. As the tower grows, readers learn that, in Hawkes and Black's alternative universe, a duck's rear end may be a tail, but a moose has a caboose, a turkey has a tushy, and a toucan a can. Hawkes's cast runs the gamut of goofy expressions; this smorgasbord of demeanors, coupled with the sheer improbability of the tower (the rhinoceros and giraffe are stacked upside-down on top of a very spindly flamingo), make this a surefire crowd-pleaser. The tower is finally undone by the stinger on a bumblebee, but not before readers' vocabularies have been boosted by 16 ways to refer to buttocks. And if that's not an example of literature enriching our lives, what is? Ages 3-7. (Jan.)

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Children's Literature - Sheilah Egan
Faint of heart parents may not want their youngsters to learn an entire new repertoire of synonyms for "posterior" but youngsters will delight in this silly presentation of epithets for referring to a variety of animals' rear ends. The title page reveals that the page is "the beginning of the ends," setting the tone for the rest of this hilarious book. The readers sees a bear perched on top of a step-ladder set up near a tall thin tree (even the tree is already funny). A duck is swimming up in the near-by lake. Turning the page reveals a moose following the duck and that the bear is starting up the tree. This is the perfect place to engage listeners in predicting what is going to occur. At first, it will take an observant reader/listener to realize that the animals are climbing on top of each other since we are only shown a couple of animals at a time. The large, bold, bright illustrations capture with great mirth the rueful expressions of each creature as a new one clambers onto of the preceding one's head. As the animals are introduced, sharp eyes will spot two ants that are climbing up and over all of the animals. Thus we see: turkey tush, flamingo fanny, rhinoceros rump, kangaroo keister, guinea pig buns, toucan can, hound dog heinie, gnu wazoo, penguin patootie, and the deer's rear to name many of the furry or feathered bottoms that appear before we must turn the book sideways to view the entire display of all of the animals piled on top of each other. The last creature is a platypus (gluteus maximus) holding a handled basket. He is reaching out to gather up a big honeycomb at the top of the tree. The "drama of the turning page" is most evident here when the next page shows anirate bee (bum) on the attack. All of the animals are seen diving into the lake—well, only the bottoms are visible as they hit the water! The very last page shows the two ants sitting on top of the honeycomb, eating great globs of honey. The visual impact of this book greatly enhances the deliberately sparse, but humorous, text. I can just imagine the belly laughs that will be generated by the work of this talented duo. Reviewer: Sheilah Egan
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 1

As every parent and teacher knows, little kids giggle over rear ends-and Chicken Cheeks is sure to keep them laughing. It features the hind quarters of animals, complete with silly names for them, from beginning to-well-end: "rhinoceros rump," "penguin patootie," "polar bear derriere," "turkey tushy." The close-up, color-saturated illustrations-which are at the same time obviously hilarious and sneakily deadpan-tell a story. A brown bear stands poised atop a ladder, gazing thoughtfully up the skinny trunk of a tall, branch-free tree. He grabs a duck and sets it on his head. As he does, readers get an eyeful of the duck's rear; the accompanying text merely says "duck tail." Somehow a huge moose finds itself perched on top of the duck's head: "moose caboose." When a chicken precariously clasps the moose's antlers and proceeds to lay an egg on its nose, only the bear is smiling. Credibility is suspended by the time the moose sits on the duck without squashing it. Sixteen animals later, children can only laugh helplessly at the absurd ladder of animals balanced parallel to the tree trunk. By then they're able to see what the bear was trying to do-and how it backfires. Filled with visual jokes and amusing details, Chicken Cheeks is a lot more than a list of words for kids to snicker at.-Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY

Kirkus Reviews
Actor/comedian Black produces a winner with his first children's book. A bear spies honey in a hive high atop a skinny tree, and as other animals come along, they pile on top of each other to create a tower. The focus of the story, and of Hawkes's brilliant acrylic cartoons, is animal backsides-"moose caboose," "penguin patootie" and, of course, "chicken cheeks." Pictures tell the story, with minimal text adding humor with rhyme, alliteration and clever wordplay. The visual humor is outstanding: What comes out of chicken cheeks? An egg of course, cracked upon the moose's nose. The animals' expressions are priceless as they struggle under each other's weight; the sight of the guinea pig straining to hold up the "deer rear" is positively hysterical. A "bumblebee bum" provides the climax to the story, and the tale concludes wordlessly, showing who gets to enjoy the honey in the end, or "the ends," as the author puts it. No butts about it, this is a perfect collaboration of text and illustration. (Picture book. 3-8)

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 12.00(h) x 0.50(d)
1080L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 8 Years


Meet the Author

Michael Ian Black is a writer, comedian, and actor who currently appears on Another Period, The Jim Gaffigan Show, and Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. He created and starred in many television series, including Michael and Michael Have Issues, Stella, and The State. He wrote the screenplay for the film Run, Fatboy, Run and wrote and directed the film Wedding Daze. Michael regularly tours the country as a stand-up comedian and is the bestselling author of the book My Custom Van (and 50 Other Mind-Blowing Essays That Will Blow Your Mind All Over Your Face), the memoir You’re Not Doing It Right, and the children’s books Chicken Cheeks, The Purple Kangaroo, A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea, I’m Bored, Naked!, and Cock-a-Doodle-Doo-Bop. Michael lives in Connecticut with his wife and two children.

Kevin Hawkes has illustrated more than forty books for children, included the New York Times bestseller The Library Lion, Weslandia, Michael Ian Black’s A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea, and Santa in Cincinatti. He lives in Southern Maine, where he can be found wandering aimlessly in his garden, unless forced indoors, where he creates imaginary landscapes with cobalt blue skies.

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Chicken Cheeks 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
dmorris6361 More than 1 year ago
I bought this book to teach a lesson on synonyms. My students loved it. They have all remembered what a synonym is and refer to the book when asked. Several other teachers have borrowed the book to teach synonyms as well. Great book!!!!!
newbethlibrarian More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent story, told primarily through illustrations with minimal words. The words all rhyme to describe various animals' back ends. A bear who wants honey gathers a bunch of different animals to climb on top of one another to reach the beehive. (It is important to watch the ants.) I loved this story and every child I read it to adores it.
mamahughes76 More than 1 year ago
Good for laughs...for all family members!
Tippytin More than 1 year ago
We just can't help giggling as we read this story. Pure fun. Illustrations are great. A perfect read aloud for a rainy (or any) day.
mcms More than 1 year ago
This was a very silly read aloud book. Great way to offer other words besides the tacky "butt" word! Can use blocks (or Cheerios or pretzels) to build a tower just like the animals- how high can your blocks go up?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My 5-year-old daughter loves this book. I think it helps her work out the "potty talk" without getting in trouble. It has also introduced to her a couple of unfamiliar animals, not to mention unfamiliar terms for rear ends (any vocabulary expansion is beneficial, in my opinion). My 2-year-old son enjoys looking at the pictures, although he does not yet appreciate having the book read to him. The story is simple but enhanced by the wonderful illustrations.