MR. WATSON’S CHICKENS
By: Jarrett Dapier
Illustrated by: Andrea Tsurumi
Published: October 5, 2021
Publisher: Chronicle Kids
Mr. Watson and Mr. Nelson have three chickens, two dogs, and three cats. But soon, there are more and more chickens until eventually there are 456 chickens. As you can imagine, this was quite the problem for Mr. Watson and Mr. Nelson.
Soon their home was overrun by chickens. Chickens in the sink, on the bed, and in the bathtub. There was even a chicken who loved to sing. Eventually, Mr. Nelson had had it with the chickens taking over their home and told Mr. Watson, it was either him or the chickens.
Of course, more hilarity ensues as they try to sell all the chickens at the county fair. When all are sold except one, kids will find a “Where’s Waldo” like page as they search for the one last chicken. Kids will surely laugh when they see where this one last chicken is hiding.
The illustrations have lots of character and I appreciated all the diverse people on the pages. Not just diversity in ethnicity, but also other abilities including Down syndrome. A lot of care was taken to be inclusive throughout the book including Mr. Watson and Mr. Nelson’s relationship. There are very few children’s picture books with gay couples or biracial gay men. The expressions on the people and the chickens are realistic from Mr. Nelson’s frustration to Mr. Watson’s joy to the chickens’ determination. As they return to a much more empty house, they are a bit sad. Until…they hear a CRACK! You’ll have to read the book to find out what is ahead for Mr. Watson and Mr. Nelson!
Jarrett Dapier is a teen services librarian at Skokie Public Library just outside of Chicago. He is the recipient of the John Phillip Immroth Memorial Award for Intellectual Freedom from the American Library Association for his research into the censorship of Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis in the Chicago Public Schools. He plays the drums, most notably while dressed as a skeleton at the White House for one of President Obama’s Halloween celebrations. He does not own any chickens. Yet.
Andrea Tsurumi is an author, illustrator, and cartoonist originally from New York, who now lives and draws in Philadelphia. The creator of Accident!, Crab Cake: Turning the Tide Together, and numerous comics, she’s also illustrated children’s books, news articles, and book covers. When she’s not inventing croissant-based animals, she likes reading about ordinary and ridiculous history.