Chicken Joy on Redbean Road
A Bayou Country Romp
Publication Date: April 2007
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When people danced to Joe Beebee’s music they forgot about bad knees, tight shoes, backaches, blisters, and beetles . . . They forgot sickness, sadness, and sin. Joe Beebee’s music, folks say, will take you up so high, your problems look small enough to stomp on. But, worries a plain brown hen, can it make a quiet rooster sing? Can it save her best friend from becoming Quiet Rooster Stew? Will Joe Beebee even play for chickens?
With art as fun as waltzing on the moon and with words as lively as a fiddle, this book captures the power of music to heal and of friendship to endure.
Jacqueline Briggs Martin is the author of Snowflake Bentley, winner of the 1999 Caldecott Medal, and The Lamp, the Ice, and the Boat Called Fish, an ALA Notable Book, a Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book, Riverbank Review Finalist, Notable Social Studies Trade book and winner of The Golden Kite Award for Illustration. She grew up on a farm in Maine much like the one in this story. She lives in Mt. Vernon, Iowa.
Saturated in Cajun and Creole cadences and sensibilities, this rollicking, multilayered tale is at once lyrical and tongue-in-cheek funny. The playful illustrations are a clever mix of collage and bright watercolors that feature varying perspectives and impressively expressive poultry. . . . The sheer insouciance of both text and art will have readers dancing the two-step and sharing that chicken joy as well.
School Library Journal
Fine turns of phrase, and Sweet's mixed-media illustrations . . . have a bouyancy that elevates the text.
In a text that is at the same time eloquent and hilarious, Martin creates a rousing barnyard tale into which she skillfully interweaves the story of fictional musician Joe Beebee, recounting his childhood love of music and his attempts to fashion his own instrument from a cigar box and an old screen door. . . . [Sweet's] lively illustrations, employing collage and found objects, are the perfect complement to this lyrical Louisiana tale of good music and good friends.
Kirkus Reviews, Starred
*STARRED REVIEW* With its unquestioned animal/human interaction and its repetition, this story, in Martin's quietly lyrical prose, has a folklike flavor. . . . The illustrations are a tasty stew in their own right; line, watercolor, and collage create a quirky world wherein cuddly, globose chickens utter Cajun exclamations in speech bubbles and chat readily with sharp-featured humans; compositions vary inventively, employing techniques such as comic-strip panels and overhead views. . . . There's just something irresistible about a good chicken story.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books