Barrington Stoke continue to work with the very best in the business and Jenny Pearson is the latest in a long line of literary royalty to have been snapped up by the publisher. In her debut, chicken on a mission and young boy tasked with saving the planet serve up a very thoughtful look at life that would make for a brilliant lesson around what we value, the tangible and the intangible.
Bertie is not pumped to be heading to Long Bottom Farm and having to stay with his Uncle Brian for the summer, he’d much rather be heading off to America with his mum. A holiday of rounding up cows, metal detecting and making friends with the livestock becomes wildly more exciting when he meets chicken Nugget (LOL), an alien in disguise from the planet Nurgle-7.
Nugget has been sent to Earth by his overlord, the High Emperor, on a mission to find Earth’s most valuable resource. Now Nugget and Earth are both dependent on Bertie because if he cannot find what Nugget needs then alien chicken won’t be going home and the planet will be exterminated…
Brimming with Jenny’s trademark humour and heart this laugh-a-minute, saving-the-world, intergalactic farmyard caper is as funny and rib-tickling as it is wise and challenging. What really is the most valuable resource on Earth? According to the internet…data. Personally, I’d be going for pickled onions judging by the amount I devoured over Christmas.
Confusion galore and plenty of silly antics ensue as human and chicken search for the answer, and when they do figure it out the moment is touching and thought-provoking. Not all things that are valuable are tangible and it is those feely-things that are perhaps what are most precious to us all. And it is feelings that are the real winners here; loneliness, dreams, kindness, happiness and the magical gift of friendship as Pearson challenges us to think about what makes us human and the importance of understanding how we feel.
The fact that Jenny is able to deliver such an engaging, enjoyable and emotionally intelligent story in one-hundred-and-twelve glorious pages is testament to her skill as a writer. And accompanied by Aleksei Bitskoff’s brilliant illustrations, all loaded with humour, this is sure to be a winner with children of all ages whether read independently, enjoyed as a class or shared at bedtime. Jenny, I would love to see more of Nugget and Bertie in the future!
As with all Barrington Stoke titles the book is published using dyslexic friendly font and colours so everyone can access this read. With huge thanks to the publisher for the copy I received in exchange for an honest review.
Recommended for 8+.