I am a happily married woman... but I think I may be in love.
And love, thy name is... Chicken Dance.
This is no puppy love, either. Sure, it's everything I'm initially attracted to on a surface level... Funny, check. Heart and gumption, check. Generally pleasing appearance, check. But what really moves this book beyond the level of mere infatuation for me is this:
Much like a good relationship, this book makes me want to up my game.
The characters and books I write tend to (attempt to be) funny. Dan Santat's illustrations are that, and more... he also manages to make each page beautiful. And strikingly composed. With interesting & engaging light sources. And a real sense of setting and atmosphere for this story. In short, he didn't stop at making each picture simply funny- he made each one a pretty stunning work of art. And oddly enough, the fact that the illustrations are beautiful only seem to make them even MORE FUNNY.
As an illustrator, I am usually drawn to the artwork in a picture book first. But Tammi Sauer's text is top-notch. I may be biased, though, because I love nothing more than a good pun, and her text is full of them. When the chickens run out of time & have to "wing it" at the talent show... well, consider me chuffed.
Oh, and there's even a website! Besides being a fantastic book, Chicken Dance is a fantastic example of a thoroughly modern picture book. By that I mean, it reaches beyond the rectangular corners of the book form. The book has a website. The website has music videos & dance lessons. The author photos take the form of CD covers, complete with playlists. For authors & illustrators looking for publicity venues for their books, Chicken Dance is a great source of inspiration in thinking outside the coop.
Alright, my love-fest is over. Time to hit the hay and dream of Elvis Poultry...