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Chickens To The Rescue

It might seem like John Himmelman’s four part Barnyard Rescue series is predictable, just from the titles, but just how that happens is always unexpected and always laugh out loud funny. These delightful books are jam-packed full of whimsical, silly rescues by chickens, ducks, pigs and cows, and even though the joke is pretty much the same through all of the books, every page is creative and filled with lots of little details that add to the overall excitement.

In the first book, Chickens to the Rescue, sharp-eyed readers will see that every time a member of the Greenstalk family has a dilemma of some kind, there is a chicken somewhere on the page. Then it’s “Chickens to the rescue!” Even the youngest children love reciting this battle cry with great enthusiasm. On the last page of the book, we see that another set of animals is ready to take over when the chickens are done.

Pigs to the Rescue is the second, and although the pigs also “help,” their results are decidedly different from what we saw with the chickens. Cows to the Rescue is third in the series, and Duck to the Rescue is the final installment.

Duck to the Rescue is also different from the first three in that all the other animals work in groups. Ernie is the only duck on the Greenstalk farm, and although he tries to help, he usually ends up needing to be rescued himself! (My favorite illustration in the entire series shows Ernie tied up by the very chicks—dressed as pirates, no less—that he was supposed to watch.) But another animal is paying attention to Ernie’s efforts, and there is a very sweet payoff at the end of this series.

These books have adorable illustrations without a lot of text, making them excellent for talking about what’s going on in those pictures. It can also be a way to discuss problem solving, and how successful the solutions are. My students like to read these books over and over, and I never mind doing so. These are really engaging for younger kids just for the story, and for ESL students they are a great way to incorporate lots of humor into vocabulary and grammar lessons.

The four titles in the series are:
  • Chickens to the Rescue
  • Duck to the Rescue
  • Cows to the Rescue
  • Pigs to the Rescue
You can check out all four books on Amazon by clicking the book covers below. Enjoy!

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