King of the barnyard, Chanticleer struts about all day. When a fox bursts into his domain, dupes him into crowing, and then grabs him in a viselike grip, Chanticleer must do some quick thinking to save himself and his barnyard kingdom.
Winner, 1959 Caldecott Medal Notable Children's Books of 19401970 (ALA)
Winner, 1992 Kerlan Award
K-Gr 3-- Chanticleer may be a pompous old bird who needs to be taught a lesson , but he certainly never deserved such a misconceived picture book as this one. The illustrations and text are both lackluster and feeble. Missing are any touches of Chaucer's ribald tone and implicit violence or the lyrical charm of Cooney's Caldecott Medal picture book (Crowell, 1961). What this version has instead are Reynard's convoluted plans to defeat Chanticleer as mayor and a duel between Chanticleer and the notorious rooster, Senor Poco Loco (who is depicted just as stereotypically as his name implies). The illustrations, taken from a backlog of Disney storyboards that never saw the light of completion, are executed in pen-and-ink with watercolor washes and, like a good storyboard should, describe the action in a broad manner. However, storyboards do not make good picture books. Objects are suspended in air and figures jump, stand, and even juggle without benefit of a background. The page design is crowded with a cramped type style. And probably the cheapest shot of all is using the same illustration for both the first and last page. Overlook this tacky attempt and track down additional copies of Cooney's version. For more background on the character of Reynard, look to Selina Hastings's excellent Reynard the Fox (Tambourine, 1991), illustrated with Graham Percy's accomplished and delightful colored-pencil drawings. --Denise Anton Wright, Illinois State University , Normal