Party Animals

S. & S./Margaret K. McElderry. (Cranky Chicken: Bk. 2). Jun. 2022. 116p. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781534470217.
Gr 1-3–Cranky Chicken, also known as a hangry Crankenstein, can still enjoy a good day with good friend Speedy the worm. Whether it’s Cranky’s birthday, a bus ride, or a day at the beach, Cranky has several (not insignificant) reasons to feel annoyed. However, Speedy is a resourceful friend, able to see the glass half full, and eventually, through sharing time together, convince Cranky that some experiences can be enjoyable. The contrast between what Cranky knows to be unpleasant and Speedy imagines to be fun is demonstrated visually. Cranky’s lists of dislikes tend to occupy straight, organized panels, while Speedy’s flights of fancy defy boundaries. Battersby uses a variety of layouts and color combinations, as well as resident animals in each scene, to make each page distinct and attractive.
VERDICT Cranky and Speedy’s outlooks will resonate with readers no matter which side of the bed they get up from. A great starting point.

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