One of the best things about modern online shopping is the knock on the door and the parcel arriving. What was it I ordered again? It could be something as exciting as a new toy, or something as boring as a new mixer for your shower. The anticipation of opening the box is as close to the feeling of Christmas that an adult is going to get (except perhaps for Christmas). Rooster has ordered something online and it arrived quickly. Will his farmyard pals appreciate his buy as much as he does?
Most animals walk around in the nude, but not Rooster. He has ordered a pair of skinny jeans off the internet and he is ready to wow the other creatures. With some fine stitching and wonderful blue denim, everyone is going to love them, or will they? It turns out that the other animals don’t think he looks good, in fact they think he looks a bit daft. Can Rooster find it within himself to not care what others’ think?
The lesson of teaching kids to be themselves and not bow down to peer pressure is a great one, but a little heavy. Never has it been done in quite the way that Jessie Miller and Barbara Bakos’ ‘‘Rooster Wore Skinny Jeans’’ has. The book is colourful, hilarious and in places a little outrageous. It makes no sense that a Rooster would want to buy a pair of tight fitting clothing, but it works as the entire exercise is done with joy.
Miller’s writing is perfect; a light tone, but still getting the message across. The story is told in rhyming couplets and scans brilliantly. There are plenty of funny sentences, as many for the adults to enjoy as the kids. The sense of knowing means that this book works for the parent whist the children can enjoy the animals and story. We all like to buy things online and reading about a fashion conscious cockerel is amusing.
Bakos also plays an important part as the illustrations are great. The colours are vibrant and you get the sense of a lovely farm somewhere out on the plains. There is also lots of things to spot all over the page. A particularly fun game we played was to count how many chicks were on each page.
The idea behind ‘‘Rooster’’ is so odd that is works, but only because Miller and Bakos both set the right tone. Any darkness would have made you feel too sorry for Rooster and you want to end the book punching the air and saying good for him. This is exactly what you get in a story that should not really work, but does magnificently.