By Erica S. Perl, Abrams Books for Young Readers, $12.95, 32 pages
You’ve probably heard the popular grade school joke before: You know what? What? Chicken Butt! Hearing this daily from your child is a parent’s worst nightmare. That’s why the mom in Erica S. Perl’s new book bans her son from telling the joke during a trip to the grocery store. But you can’t keep a determined kid down, and the silly wordplay is once again in action in Chicken Butt’s Back!
In this two-voice tale, mother and son banter back and forth as they travel the aisles. Henry Cole’s acrylic paint and colored pencil illustrations are delightful. Although there may be no more “chicken butt” jokes, young readers will get a kick out of all the other animal jokes featured in the story. In the pet aisle the boy spies a sign for cat food. He says, “Mom, look now. Look by the cat!” Mom replies, “Cat? But…” Can you guess what comes next? CAT BUTT! Poor Mom can’t catch a break. What will her son come up with next and will he ever stop the crazy word play? Next time a kid tries to pull this joke, answer at your own risk!
Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin