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The Chicken Squad

The First Misadventure

Illustrated by Kevin Cornell

About The Book

Now an animated series on Disney Junior!

They might be chicks, but they sure aren’t chicken, and they’re on a mission. And on this, their first (mis)adventure “in this delightful spinoff of the J.J. Tully series” (Kirkus Reviews), the Chicken Squad launches a galactic backyard expedition.

Meet the Chicken Squad: Dirt, Sugar, Poppy, and Sweetie. These chicks are not your typical barnyard puffs of fluff, and they are not about to spend their days pecking chicken feed and chasing bugs. No sir, they’re too busy solving mysteries and fighting crime.

So when Squirrel comes barreling into the chicken coop, the chicks know they’re about to get a case. But with his poor knowledge of shapes (“Big” is not a shape, Squirrel!) and utter fear of whatever it is that’s out there, the panicky Squirrel is NO HELP. Good thing these chicks are professionals.

But even professionals get worried. Especially once they see that round, shiny, green, BIG thing in the yard. What if it’s a UFO full of aliens who want chickens as pets, or worse, dinner? It’s up to the Chicken Squad to crack a case that just might be out of this world.


The Chicken Squad Chapter 1
Help!! Help!”

A squirrel came barreling into the chicken coop. He was out of breath and in a panic. “There is something big and scary in the yard!” gasped the squirrel. “It’s after me!”

“Describe it for me,” said Sugar. She pulled her notepad out of the old shoe.

“It’s big and scary!!” said the squirrel. “It’s BIG and it’s SCARY!!”

“Big and scary is not going to cut it,” said Sugar. “Lots of things are big and scary, kid. My mom is big and scary. Try again.”

“It’s ENORMOUS and FRIGHTENING,” said Squirrel.

Sugar put her pencil down. “Better. Keep going.”

“It’s HUGE and TERRIFYING!” cried the squirrel.

“Much better, Tail,” said Sugar. She checked her notes.

Big and Scary!

Enormous and Frightening!

Huge and Terrifying!

“Maybe I can help,” said Dirt. She took out her sketchpad. “What shape was it?” asked Dirt.

“It was . . . big,” answered the squirrel.

“Big is not a shape,” sighed Sugar. She put her notebook down. “You’ve got a good vocabulary, kid. But your poor shape knowledge means I can’t respect you. You should go now.”

“Hold on, Sugar,” said Dirt. “Let’s figure this out. Let’s start from the beginning.”

“It’s ENORMOUS!” snapped the squirrel. He was starting to get grumpy.

“I thought you said it was big,” said Sugar.

“Maybe I can give it a try,” said Dirt. “Is it bigger than a house?”

“Well, no,” said the squirrel.

“Is it bigger than the chicken coop?” asked Dirt.

“Well, no,” answered the squirrel.

“Is it bigger than you?” asked Dirt.

“I am a brave squirrel!! Of course it’s bigger than me!” said the squirrel. “Why would I be afraid of something if it wasn’t bigger than me?”

“Lots of people are afraid of things that are smaller than they are,” said Dirt.

“Well, not me,” said the squirrel. “I’m only afraid of one thing and it’s BIG and SCARY, and it came out of nowhere, and it’s out there waiting for me!”

“I think we need J. J. on this case,” said Sugar. “He knows the yard like the back of his paw. I’m going to run over there and ask him to join us.”

“Not the dog!” yelled the squirrel. “Not the DOG! NOT THE DOG!”

“What’s your beef with the dog, Tail?” asked Sugar.

“He’s big and scary!” answered the squirrel.

Sugar had a hunch.

“Fine, I’m just going to run outside and grab a shovel,” she announced. “I’ll be right back.”

“Not the shovel!” said Tail. “Not the SHOVEL! NOT THE SHOVEL!”

“What’s your beef with the shovel?” asked Sugar.

“It’s big and scary!” said the squirrel.

“I give up, Tail,” said Sugar. “Sounds to me like you’re afraid of everything in the yard. Now get out of here and call me when you have a real problem.” Sugar made a last note on her pad.

Big and Scary!

Enormous and Frightening!

Huge and Terrifying!

Never mind!

Just then a dark figure appeared in the doorway and cast a shadow over Dirt, Sugar, and Tail.

“Everything okay in here?” asked a deep, gruff voice. Tail’s eyes went wide, his face went pale, and he hit the floor.

About The Author

Photograph (c) Doreen Cronin

Doreen Cronin is the author of many bestselling and New York Times bestselling picture books, including Click, Clack, Quack to School!Click, Clack, Surprise!Click, Clack, Ho, Ho, HoClick, Clack, PeepClick, Clack, Boo!Dooby Dooby MooThump, Quack, Moo: A Whacky AdventureBounceWiggleDuck for PresidentGiggle, Giggle, QuackBloom; and the Caldecott Honor Book Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type as well as The Chicken Squad series and Cyclone. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit her at

About The Illustrator

Kevin Cornell’s secret spy headquarters are located in Philadelphia. He has successfully accomplished several thrilling missions, including illustrating Mustache! and Count The Monkeys by Mac Barnett, the Chicken Squad series by Doreen Cronin, and the Lulu series by Judith Viorst. Leave a coded message for him at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (September 29, 2015)
  • Length: 112 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781442496774
  • Grades: 2 - 5
  • Ages: 7 - 10
  • Lexile ® 560L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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Raves and Reviews

"Cornell’s illustrations give life to the chicks and their individual personalities. Each one pursues his or her own agenda, though they are often united in a common cause. Like four small, fuzzy, yellow Don Quixotes, they see giants in windmills or, in this case, aliens in backyard grills." - New York Times

Awards and Honors

  • ALA Notable Children's Books
  • Kansas NEA Reading Circle List PrimaryTitle
  • Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award Master List
  • Texas Bluebonnet Master List
  • Flicker Tale Award (ND)
  • Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year Selection Title
  • Cybils Award Finalist
  • Wisconsin State Reading Association's Reading List
  • Sunshine State Young Readers' Award Jr. Nominee (FL)

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More books from this author: Doreen Cronin

More books from this illustrator: Kevin Cornell

More books in this series: The Chicken Squad