Chicken Mission: Chaos in Cluckbridge by Jennifer Gray and Hannah George
|Chicken Mission: Chaos in Cluckbridge by Jennifer Gray and Hannah George|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: While not quite hitting the heights of the second book in this engaging and cleverly daft series, this return to it shows the author nailing just what her grateful audience wants.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 192||Date: January 2016|
|Publisher: Faber and Faber|
|External links: Author's website|
Chickens are not supposed to live in cities, but they do because humans have got small coops in so many of their gardens. Foxes are not supposed to live in cities, but they have gone there anyway in search of anything to eat – which can include the chickens. Lethal, gigantic cobra snakes are not supposed to live in cities, but one, called Cleopatra that has been a huge enemy to chicken-kind for years, has escaped from the city zoo and is on the loose. You might think that the Elite Chicken Squad could sort out the fox problem if they went to town – after all, they have done so twice before now – but things would be a lot different if by some chance the wily foxes got into cahoots with the cobra… And things would have a lot more urgency if Cleopatra happened to be ready to lay a large clutch of her eggs – which she is…
That sense of urgency carries on across all the pages of this very readable book, and indeed the whole series so far. The titles are pretty much self-contained, even if in some regard they follow the same pattern all along – a pattern this book seemed to be doing its damnedest to avoid for a while. Yes, the fox baddy has no meeting agendas to regale his colleagues with, but as before there are silly posters luring the chickens to their peril, unlikely circumstances and wacky comeuppances – just as much joie-de-vivre as you'd expect in fact, for a young read featuring three heroic chicken stars, with their laptops and other gadgets.
The young reader seemed served perfectly suitably here, but for one thing – several times we were told something, then promptly told the same thing in a different manner. Were the book a long one the editor would have excised that, but with this being such a brisk, charming read it feels like padding, especially when it doesn’t only happen in the exposition at the beginning but elsewhen too. Certainly there's nothing here the audience would not have understood the first time, and this repetition was very noticeable.
As were, however, all the joys and fun to be had with such an inherently silly series. The mysteries and invention from both our heroes and villains are pitched finely – being clever enough to make this a very engaging read, while also having the ideal sense of the daft. Intrigue, cleverness and unusual animal characters – what else could the under-twelves want? It's been some time since the previous books in this series (reviewed here and there) but this is a welcome return to it. More of the same, please!
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
And the author has her other series, established with seven titles now, which all began with Atticus Claw Breaks the Law by Jennifer Gray.
You can read more book reviews or buy Chicken Mission: Chaos in Cluckbridge by Jennifer Gray and Hannah George at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Chicken Mission: Chaos in Cluckbridge by Jennifer Gray and Hannah George at Amazon.com.
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