Into the Wild: Yet Another Misadventure

illus. by Stephen Gilpin. 112p. (The Chicken Squad: Bk. 3). S. & S./Atheneum. May 2016. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781481450461.
Gr 1–3—The short, fuzzy, yellow chick detectives are back for another misadventure in this lip-bitingly funny series entry by the author of The Trouble with Chickens (HarperCollins, 2011), which stars the chicks' ex-police dog pal, J.J. Tully. As in past installments, the hard-boiled Tully introduces readers to Barbara's backyard and the motley crew of pet chicks who spend their days investigating oddities, devising plans, staking out suspicious characters, and generally causing an adorable ruckus. Once again, know-it-all Sugar leads the way, roping her siblings into spying on a strange new box in the yard—could it be a shark?! Though levelheaded Dirt drolly deduces that their new neighbor is a rabbit, Sugar, Sweetie, and Poppy are convinced that the new creature is up to no good. When the hatch door is found open, the squad goes on a search-and-contain mission, armed with marshmallows. Gilpin's comically expressive black-and-white drawings pepper almost every page, and the typeface is generously sized, making this an ideal series for newly independent readers. The slight sarcasm, witty banter, and sly observations in the style of old-time noir films will have adults chuckling right alongside kid readers.
VERDICT This volume, along with the previous books in the series, is an essential purchase for chapter book collections.

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