Saturday, December 5, 2009

Chicken Dance by Tammi Sauer

Marge and Lola are chickens with dreams. 1. Enter the barnyard talent show. 2. Win. 3. Accept the grand prize tickets to see Elvis Poultry in concert.

The ducks are realists. Talented realists. According to them, facts is facts. “Ducks win every year. All chickens can do is bawk, flap, and shake.”

Undaunted, Marge and Lola test their talents. Bowling. Juggling. Tightrope walking. Out. Out. Out. They even tried flying and swimming. Also out. Their experiments last all day, right up to the start of the talent show. Out of options, Marge and Lola decide, simply, to wing it.

The goats ate a tractor. The pigs made a pyramid. The cows jumped over the moon. Then the ducks grabbed their boards and surfed their way to the top of the leader board, scoring a 9 out of 10. With only Marge and Lola left, they know they have a chance. They do what chickens do best, and it's exactly what the ducks teased them about. They bawked. They flapped. They shook. They scored a … well, I can’t give that away, can I?

I will say there are a range of emotions for the characters involved. There’s disappointment and excitement. Sadness and surprise. And when the King himself, Elvis Poultry, appears from backstage, his reaction to Marge and Lola’s performance has everybody all shook up.

Tammi Sauer gives readers an enjoyable story with enough twists and turns to keep young readers surprised at the outcome. What at first appears to be a story where the bullies – those rotten ducks – get what’s coming to them turns into a story about playing to your strengths and the rewards that can come from individuality. Dan Santat’s illustrations are as funny as chickens bowling or juggling can be. Young readers will especially enjoy Marge and Lola’s talent show moves and will be eager to imitate them.

UPDATE: Thanks to Tammi Sauer's comment below, I now know there is a website dedicated to "The King," Elvis Poultry. Check it out for all sorts of fun, including dance lessons!


  1. Brian...

    Thankyouthankyouverymuch for this bawktastic review. It had me all shook up. :)

    Tammi Sauer

  2. Thankyouthankyouverymuch for such a fun book. I'm glad you were able to stop shaking long enough to drop by the site and type out a comment. :) It was great to hear from you.


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