The Sheep, the Rooster, and the Duck

Greenwillow. Mar. 2022. 240p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062911001.
Gr 3-7–This fun piece of historical fiction from acclaimed author and artist Phelan follows the story of hardworking Emile, caretaker of ambassador Benjamin Franklin’s château in Paris, as he joins forces with the truly legendary sheep, rooster, and duck known for their involvement in the first hot air balloon flight of 1783, pioneered by the infamous Montgolfier brothers in Versailles. Readers will adventure with the characters through sinister plots and awkward and humorous situations as they work to outsmart the villains trying to steal Benjamin Franklin’s drawings and inventions. Together, they devise a plan to thwart the enemies and save the world by keeping Franklin’s precious inventions from landing in the wrong hands. The adventure is filled with the fun and whimsy of covert operations, secret societies, a secret spy headquarters on Marie Antoinette’s playground, and secret night gliders (bat-like flying robots). This extraordinary group of animal spies is brought to life through witty dialogue, and the graphic novel–type illustrations are a huge part of the storytelling. Emile emerges as a brave character and steps far outside of his comfort zone when working with the animals. It is a story of friendship and bravery, and a celebration of history.
VERDICT A fun, fast-paced adventure with tons of historical references and witty humor. Great for all readers and as a classroom read-aloud.–

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