In this sportive tale of turnabout, two resourceful chicks solve the problem of their constantly bickering mama hens. Mrs. Heckle and Mrs. Peckle are ``always trying to outdo one another'' as they argue over the merits of their respective eggs, their baked goods (``I'm busy making the best pink chiffon, chocolate swirl cake you've ever seen'') and, of course, their offspring. Fed up with the squabbling, little Sweet Pea and Napoleon hatch a plot to bamboozle their parents and put an end to the ongoing fracas. Using softly colored pastoral watercolors and cheery patterns, Bassett sets her story in a cozy barnyard that abounds in homey details. Her sweetly anthropomorphized stars head up a merry menagerie indeed. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
- Meredith E. Kiger
Mrs. Heckle and Mrs. Peckle are neighboring hens. They are always trying to outdo one another. When they both lay eggs and hatch identical chicks, each declares hers to be the most beautiful and clever. As the chicks, Sweet Pea and Napoleon, grow, they tire of hearing their mothers' bicker so they conjure up a scheme to trade places and fool their mothers to show them how silly they have been acting. The mother hens promise the chicks to stop fussing and peace settles over the neighborhood. Charming storybook pictures compliment the text.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Mrs. Heckle and Mrs. Peckle, two petulant hens, pick quarrels over every trivial matter. When they each hatch a fluffy yellow chick, their jealousy piques. Tired of all the arguing, the youngsters hatch their own little plot to teach their mothers a lesson-they trade places. When the hens fail to recognize the deception, they realize the error of their ways and become models of sweetness. Bassett's watercolor-and-ink illustrations are pleasant though uninspired, and the story is artificial and contrived. For a smoother version of a similar tale of motherly pride, try Lisa Campbell Ernst's Zinnia and Dot (Viking, 1992).-Ruth Semrau, formerly at Lovejoy School, Allen, TX
Julie Yates Walton
In a delightful role reversal, the chicks in this story teach their prideful mama chickens a lesson in humility. Mrs. Heckle and Mrs. Peckle always try to outdo one another, and the rivalry intensifies when their chicks, Sweet Pea and Napoleon, hatch. After each mother vows to stop arguing only when the other admits her chick is the best, the chicks devise a plan. They fool their mothers into thinking they have switched nests one night; believing they each have the other mother's chick, Mrs. Heckle and Mrs. Peckle spend the next day praising the other chicken's chick. When the chicks reveal their true identities, the mothers keep their promise and happily end the one-upmanship. Bassett's pen-and-watercolor illustrations, serving up country-cute chickens in frilly bonnets, good-naturedly sharpen the tale's aim at human braggarts. In fact, many a parent may cringe with self-recognition at these boasting roasters, while their children revel in the chicks' craftiness.