Egg on the Loose

Penguin Workshop. (Beaky Barnes: Bk. 1). Jan. 2023. 128p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593094761.
Gr 3-6–In Caldecott Honoree Stein’s graphic novel debut, readers are invited to join the residents of Simpleton for a wild chicken chase. Readers are initially introduced to the routine-oriented Town Inspector Cobb as he prepares to enjoy his daily lunch of an egg sandwich; however, things go awry immediately after the egg absconds from the confines of the bread. Cobb bolts to the town café to find a replacement, before learning that they are out of eggs. The chef, meanwhile, instantly closes shop to avoid a surprise inspection and sets out to find an egg for the inspector. Filled with despair, the chef is ready to give up when along strolls the chicken Beaky Barnes and her friend, headed right for the café. Subsequent spreads depict increasingly hilarious high jinks that ultimately culminate in a delightful conclusion that includes a trumpet-playing fish, a hardworking elephant, the chef enjoying a new role in life, and countless great ideas from the mind of Beaky Barnes, to name but a few features. Stein’s signature watercolor and ink illustrations burst with humor and action on every spread, coupled flawlessly with clever wordplay and amusing dialogue.
VERDICT Readers will be eager for more of Beaky’s adventures. Highly recommended for purchase.

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