Swing Shift: Chicks Run Wild by Sudipta Bardhan-Quillen
PILLOWS FLUFFED UP BENEATH THEIR HEADS,
CHICKS ARE TUCKED BENEATH THE SHEETS.
"GO TO SLEEP, NOW" MAMA TWEETS.
It's a sweet nighttime scene in Mama's snug coop. With a loving kiss for each of her five little peeps, the lights go off and she closes the door. Ahhh! At last! her body language says.
All of us parents have been there. After a hard day of this and that, the little dears are at last tucked in, and a few hours of freedom beckon.
But Mama has counted her chickees all too soon.
As it happens, Mama is ready for their bedtime, but the five little peeps are not. As soon as she gets down the hall, bedlam erupts. The chicks jump on the beds, fill the air with fluff from their pillow fights, and generally have a rousing play time on the night shift.
Of course, their clandestine cavorting cannot go unnoticed. Mama is soon back at the door, wings on whatever passes for chicken hips, with her beak pressed tight in disapproval. At first she tries being firm. But as soon as she closes the door, the fun begins again. She tries threats; she delivers an ultimatum. Still the chicks won't stay in their beds.
But two can play at this game. After all, who's the adult around here? Mama can beat them at their own game, and bringing on the rockin' music, she joins them in the merriment, leading them in one wild--and seemingly unending--chicken dance! Soon their little chick tongues are handing out of their little beaks, and the young ones cave in.
THE CHICKS FALL TO THEIR KNEES.
MOANING "BEDTIME, MAMA, PLEASE!"
Sudipta Bardhan-Quillen's brand-new Chicks Run Wild (Simon & Schuster, 2011), with its rounded, big-eyed chicks looking more like Easter candies that anything, are filled with frolicsome and infectious energy, topped only when Mama gets down with a high-spirited chicken dance that has them all puffing to keep up. But in Ward Jenkins' effervescent illustrations, Mama gets the last laugh, as she finally settles down on the sofa for some post-bedtime "Mama-time," her TV show onscreen and her half-read book at hand, and some bright nail polish ready for a pedicure.
A non-bedtime bedtime story, this tale is best read for laughs during the day, because it certainly won't put anybody to sleep!