Mr. Watson’s Chickens

Chronicle. Oct. 2021. 48p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781452177144.
Gr 1-3–Mr. Watson and Mr. Nelson fill their “big, honking house” with love and animals—especially chickens. When their “handful” of chickens quickly balloons to over 400, things become challenging for everyone involved. With chickens in their dinner, in the bathtub, and in Mr. Nelson’s boots, they have finally become too much. It is time for the chickens to find a new home. But what will Mr. Watson and Mr. Nelson’s house be like once all the chaos is removed? Animal lovers and empty nesters will appreciate the delightful antics within this story. Short, accessible text makes this book enjoyable for young readers, especially as a lap read. Comical illustrations, including cross-sections to show the chaos inside the home, depict the many hundreds of chickens playing instruments and causing all manner of ruckus. Mr. Watson, who is white with brown hair, and Mr. Nelson, who has black hair and presents as Asian, are a couple, interacting in loving ways even when the chickens overstep their bounds and make life difficult for them. Light, pastel shades are used throughout the story, and one picture in particular is reminiscent of Where’s Waldo, inviting readers to look more closely to find the missing element. Readers who are patient enough to examine the illustrations carefully will be rewarded with surprising and humorous moments outside the primary narrative.
VERDICT This book suits early elementary school-aged readers and is an inclusive and humorous look at what happens when life becomes overwhelming and requires a reset.

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