Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Coop de Grace: Bad Boys Get Henpecked by Margie Palatini

Those bad boys, Willy and Wally Wolf, were hungry.

Belly-babbling, tummy-talking, gut-grumbling hungry.

Yep. Those loopy lupines Willy and Wally Wolf are on the prowl again. This time they've got a yen for hen!

Disinclined to go chicken chasing, however, the two case the coop before the caper, ogling Mrs. Hen hard at work doing her daily chores. Obviously, this hen could use some handy help around the house, someone to kindly cope with her copious coopwork. Costuming themselves with rubber-glove coxcombs and fake beaks, voila! Willy and Wally are transformed into the Handy-Dandy Lupino Brothers, two capable capons at her service.

"Good gracious," clucked the hen. "That old rooster of mine has flown the coop and I could use some help around the house. But all I can offer to pay is mere chicken feed."

Willy winked at Wally, Wally winked at Willy.

"We work for cheep." drooled Willy.

But before they can make a move, Mrs. Hen hands them a bucket and mop, drops her apron, and with a cheery "Ta-ta!" and "Good luck!" this bird has flown.

The Lupino Bros. feel they have no choice but to fake it while they wait for their chicken dinner to check back in, grumpily working their way through the to-do list while keeping a wary eye on what seems like dozens of pesky, peeping chickies. By the time they get to the last item--"Sit on the nest"--that job is beginning to look pretty darned good to the two pooped predators.

But as the Lupinos lounge their way through sweet rest in the nest, the little peepers are up to no good, undoing all the boys' hard work, and when Mrs. Hen makes her return and sacks her lazy babysitters, the two bad boys have had about all they can take of fowl play. Postponing their finger-lickin' feast indefinitely, Willy and Wally wind up, as always, taking it on the lam and dining on a vegetarian dinner.

"I do believe I have lost my taste for chicken," said Willy.

In her latest in the Bad Boys series, Bad Boys Get Henpecked! (HarperCollins, 2009) Margie Palatini keeps the puns a-popping and the alliterations a-tumbling, while Henry Cole's hilarious illustrations of those carnivorous con men keep the action rolling right along. Previous tales of those would-be wily wolf brothers are Bad Boys and Bad Boys Get Cookie!

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