They might be chicks, but they sure aren’t chicken, and they’re on a mission. And on this, their first (mis)adventure “in this delightful spinoff of the J.J. Tully series” (Kirkus Reviews), the Chicken Squad launches a galactic backyard expedition.
Meet the Chicken Squad: Dirt, Sugar, Poppy, and Sweetie. These chicks are not your typical barnyard puffs of fluff, and they are not about to spend their days pecking chicken feed and chasing bugs. No sir, they’re too busy solving mysteries and fighting crime.
So when Squirrel comes barreling into the chicken coop, the chicks know they’re about to get a case. But with his poor knowledge of shapes (“Big” is not a shape, Squirrel!) and utter fear of whatever it is that’s out there, the panicky Squirrel is NO HELP. Good thing these chicks are professionals.
But even professionals get worried. Especially once they see that round, shiny, green, BIG thing in the yard. What if it’s a UFO full of aliens who want chickens as pets, or worse, dinner? It’s up to the Chicken Squad to crack a case that just might be out of this world.
This loopy mystery kicks off the Chicken Squad series, a spinoff of Cronin and Cornell's J.J. Tully Mysteries that is skewed to even younger readers. Retired search-and-rescue dog turned detective J.J. takes a minor role in this outing, leaving the spotlight to Moosh's four chicks. Though it's J.J.'s job to bail out the trouble-prone chickens, he enlists readers to take over while he naps: "Wake me if they get into any trouble. Well, big trouble. I'm sure you can handle a little trouble on your own." Trouble arrives in the guise of Tail, a terrified squirrel who storms the chicken coop insisting that "something big and scary" is after him. Led by Sugar, who records clues in her notebook, and Dirt, who uses her sketchpad to decipher the shape of the interloper, the chick siblings (camouflaged as clods of grass) and Tail set out to confront what they assume is a UFO. As Cronin and Cornell layer on the silliness, full-tilt slapstick springs from the chicks' banter and Tail's melodramatic ranting. Ages 7 10. Author's agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties.