soup of the day: chicken dance!


Eggs-tra, Eggs-tra, Feed All About It!

Curl your lips (or beaks, as the case may be), wiggle your wattles,  shake your tail feathers. It’s time to bawk and roll! WooHoo!

Rawkin’ album covers featuring author and illustrator.

About a week ago, I announced that Elvis Poultry was in the building. Today, his creators, author Tammi Sauer (Cowboy Camp), and illustrator Dan Santat (Guild of Geniuses, Secret Life of Walter Kitty), have got plenty to crow about, because CHICKEN DANCE (Sterling, 2009) has officially hatched!

Picture Book for ages 4-8, 36 pages.

True, this heeeelarious, rollicking barnyard romp of a story snuck into a few hen houses a little early. But now, it’s obvious that the world was mighty hungry for a good cluck with pluck, because the first print run has already sold out!

For those of you who were hittin’ the hay, Chicken Dance chronicles Marge and Lola’s attempts to win tickets for the Elvis Poultry concert. All they have to do is win the Barnyard Talent Contest. This would be far easier if they didn’t have to outscore a flock of heckling ducks, who are quick to quack, “All a chicken can do is bawk, flap, and shake.”


Have no fear! Marge and Lola are bent on swooping the coop with their indomitable talent. All they have to do is find it — bowling? juggling? tightrope walking? flying? swimming? “Get some floaties, chickens!” Oh, those taunting ducks! In the end, Marge and Lola are forced to “wing it.”  Can they best tractor-eating goats, pyramid building pigs, udderly high jumping cows, and those snotty surfing ducks? Holy haystack, they’re all shook up! But this can be a good thing, no? Especially if the Top Bird is into that sort of thing.


Cock-a-doodle-doo! Tammi really struts her storytelling stuff in this book: tight structure, snappy dialogue, droll humor, a superior spoof and spin. Dan has totally channeled his inner Elvis with energy that flies off the page. From the dance-step endpapers, to the full range of fowl emotions pulling the reader deeper into the dramatic highjinks with every page turn, to the mock-serious album cover author photos, this book rawks hard. But don’t take my word for it.

Chicken Dance has already earned bales of glowing reviews. About Tammi’s brilliant chicken scratch, Kirkus said, “The zippy narrative features punchy dialogue and witty interactions; creative wordplay abounds (“Let’s bawk and roll!”). Droll delivery soars high, advancing the storyline to its playful conclusion.” Publisher’s Weekly praised Dan’s riotous explosion of warm, vibrant, knock-your-feathers-off illos like this: “Totally in sync with his collaborator, Santat’s (Always Lots of Heinies at the Zoo) sculptural, mixed media pictures exude an old-fashioned, theatrical drama that lifts the many jokes — visual and textual — into sublime silliness.”


Tammi and Dan have shaken up the book world with their online promotional efforts: A Chicken Dance Facebook Fan Page, Elvis Poultry website and Twitter Feed, and a special YouTube Video Contest. They are just having too much fun (I admit being partial to illustrators who wear t-shirts that say,“Real Men Eat Cupcakes”). I mean, right?

So, are you ready to bawk and roll? Just dip your beaks into today’s celebration trough (no chickens were harmed, no eggs were used during the making of this soup), and crow your loudest in honor of Tammi and Dan. Eggs-a-lent job, guys!

Today’s Special: Elvis Poultry Soup de Coop (sprinkled with feed and guaranteed to make you bawk, flap and shake).

And here’s the perfect sandwich to go with your soup: the Elvis Poultry Special — fried banana, peanut butter, and chicken feed:

photo by SarahNYC.

Now, my little chickies, fancy step your way over to your nearest indie or fave online bookseller to score a copy or two of Chicken Dance. Just for fun, flap your wings at the salesclerk, and don’t forget to keep an eye out for Elvis Poultry himself, who’s currently on his Final Doodle Doo Tour! ☺

Some Eggs-tra Feed:

Tammi Sauer Official Website and Live Journal blog.
Dan Santat Official Website and blog.
Special interview with Elvis Poultry and Tammi Sauer at Sterling Children’s Books.
Dan at 7-Imp.

Your homework:

from Cheryl Huntley’s photostream.


*Spreads posted by permission, text copyright © 2009 Tammi Sauer, illustrations copyright © 2009 Dan Santat, published by Sterling Publishing. All rights reserved.

23 thoughts on “soup of the day: chicken dance!

  1. Whoa, everyone is having way too much fun here! You made me spill my coffee. I wish I had a good chicken joke… but I have to leave that to you all.

    And, already a Dan Santat fan, I’m so glad to know about the cupcake t-shirt.

    Thanks Jama! And congratulations Tammi and Dan!


  2. Jama!

    This is the most amazing post ever!

    I laughed, I cried, I shook my tail feathers.

    And that soup? It looks mmmm-mmmm good!

    I so love this eggs-traordinary tribute to Marge, Lola, and the King of Bawk and Roll.

    As Elvis Poultry would say, “Thank you. Thankyouverymuch.”


  3. Fun post, Jama! On the back cover, Dan has perfectly conveyed the fowl version of the Elvis snarl and pompador and white leather jumpsuit look.

    Congrats to Tammi and Dan!


  4. Dan’s rendering of Elvis Poultry is brilliant. I wonder how many peanut butter and banana sandwiches he ate during the making of this book. Then again, he probably scarfed up cupcakes instead.


  5. Another MARVELOUS book launch entry, Jama! I figured I’d bring tea to help wash the sandwich down. I felt fortunate to find a first printing in stock – it took me a few tries to find the book in stock around here, alas.


  6. The first print run has ALREADY SOLD OUT? Wow. Congrats to Dan and Tammi!

    Faaaaaabulous post!


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