“A grand, giddy, and, at times, literally soaring tale.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“An amusing, fast-paced tale of land, sky, and spies.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Incredibly creative. . . . A little bit of history, a touch of mystery, and heaps of fun.”—Booklist (starred review)
A Publishers Weekly Best Book
Wherever there is injustice, nefarious plots, or threats to society, the Sheep, the Rooster, and the Duck are there to stop them!
A sly villain with a plan to cause havoc across the globe is no match for three extraordinary animals—and their two young human friends. From acclaimed author and artist Matt Phelan, The Sheep, the Rooster, and the Duck is a hilarious, action-packed, and highly illustrated middle grade adventure perfect for fans of Skunk and Badger and Flora & Ulysses.
The very first passengers to ride in a hot-air balloon were a sheep, a rooster, and a duck in 1783. And while hot-air balloons are indeed wondrous, ten-year-old Emile is too busy being the fastidious caretaker of ambassador Benjamin Franklin’s château in Paris to think much about them.
But soon, young Emile finds himself right in the middle of a sinister plot. And right in the middle of the secret headquarters for France’s undercover guardians—the very same sheep, rooster, and duck that piloted the first hot-air balloon. If Emile can muster his courage and be bold, he may be the key to helping the heroes save both Benjamin Franklin and the world.
Award-winning author Matt Phelan’s The Sheep, the Rooster, and the Duck is a highly illustrated adventure full of secrets, hijinks, and reimagined historical events. This rip-roaring and surprising story is ideal for reluctant readers, aspiring heroes, and fans of Peter Brown’s The Wild Robot.
Utilizing a third-person narrative and paneled comics sequences, Phelan (Sweater Weather) offers a delightful historical re-imagining, centering animals as spies. Two years after the launch of the first hot air balloon, in 1783 Versailles, diplomat Benjamin Franklin resides in France, working on inventions inspired by that launch: "I had to imagine more destructive uses. A habit developed from years of revolution." He doesn't know that a menagerie of well-meaning spies, all passengers on that initial balloon, are studying his drawings, worrying about their possible repercussions. When Franklin's drawings fall into the hands of evil Count Cagliostro, it's up to the spies sheep Bernadette, duck Jean-Luc, and masked rooster Pierre (aka B te Noire, the Scourge of the Underworld) as well as their compatriot Sophie and Franklin's trusty 10-year-old servant Emile, to save the day. Featuring a cued-white cast with cameos of notable historic figures (e.g., "insipid" Marie Antoinette) as well as occasional fun facts (e.g., how the word mesmerize came to be), this amusing, fast-paced tale of land, sky, and spies will easily draw in reluctant readers. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8 12. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House.