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Louisiana life is good for a sonorous-voiced rooster with a blue head and the brown hen named Miss Cleoma. That is, until a bad bout of chicken measles steals the rooster's crow and makes him ripe for Mrs. Miser's "silent rooster stew." A desperate Miss Cleoma two-steps a "rooster-in-danger dance" down the road, seeking help from Mr. Joe Beebee, the best musician around. Meanwhile, Mrs. Miser's attempts to grab her ax to deal with the rooster are delayed as farmyard animals pitch veggies in front of her (think of the Greek myth of Atalanta and the Golden Apples) that simply must go into the stew first. Mr. Joe Beebee comes to the rescue, gathering neighbors and musicians who converge on Mrs. Miser's house ready to create a music-filled party. The rooster is inspired to crow, Mrs. Miser sells her "seven-vegetable stew" to partygoers, and good times ("Bons temps! ") are had by all. Saturated in Cajun and Creole cadences and sensibilities, this rollicking, multilayered tale is at once lyrical and tongue-in-cheek funny. The playful illustrations are a clever mix of collage and bright watercolors that feature varying perspectives and impressively expressive poultry. The spreads are overlaid with panels of handmade paper containing the pictures, with chickens dancing a red-dotted trail over, under, and around them. The sheer insouciance of both text and art will have readers dancing the two-step and sharing that chicken joy as well.
—Marge Loch-WoutersCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Fine turns of phrase, and Sweet's mixed-media illustrations . . . have a bouyancy that elevates the text.
In a text that is at the same time eloquent and hilarious, Martin creates a rousing barnyard tale into which she skillfully interweaves the story of fictional musician Joe Beebee, recounting his childhood love of music and his attempts to fashion his own instrument from a cigar box and an old screen door. . . . [Sweet's] lively illustrations, employing collage and found objects, are the perfect complement to this lyrical Louisiana tale of good music and good friends.
Kirkus Reviews, Starred
*STARRED REVIEW* With its unquestioned animal/human interaction and its repetition, this story, in Martin's quietly lyrical prose, has a folklike flavor. . . . The illustrations are a tasty stew in their own right; line, watercolor, and collage create a quirky world wherein cuddly, globose chickens utter Cajun exclamations in speech bubbles and chat readily with sharp-featured humans; compositions vary inventively, employing techniques such as comic-strip panels and overhead views. . . . There's just something irresistible about a good chicken story.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Posted March 8, 2009
The story is based in Cajun country but is a wonderful story for everyone. The illustrations are lovely. I bought this book for my infant grandson to enjoy when he is older but it held his attention when I read it to him recently. We love it so much that I bought extra copies to give to my other children when they have families. To paraphrase the book, it makes you feel as though your "world was a sweet little egg". The book is filled with memorable phrases that make you smile!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.