Review of Beaky Barnes: Egg on the Loose

Beaky Barnes:Egg on the LooseBeaky Barnes: Egg on the Loose
by David Ezra Stein; illus. by the author
Primary, Intermediate    Penguin Workshop    128 pp.
1/23    9780593094761    $18.99
e-book ed.  9780593225110    $10.99

How can a single egg lead to a whole town in chaos? Stein’s offbeat early graphic novel full of slapstick comedy explores just how much trouble an egg can cause. An uptight food inspector, a chef with something to hide, a fish, and an inventor and her friend (a human-sized chicken named Beaky) are the main players in this silly, pun-filled romp. When the fried egg falls out of the inspector’s sandwich, it sets off an improbable series of events that ends with the chicken (in disguise) protecting her only egg from the inspector, who has lost all his clothes and is wearing a barrel. The plot twists and turns through a series of shenanigans, including regular commercial breaks for important messages from our sponsors about the inventor’s latest inventions. Stein’s recognizable illustration style (e.g., the Interrupting Chicken books) of sketchy pen drawings with watercolor adds even more humor to the goofy goings-on, giving the story the feel and comic beats of a Buster Keaton movie. Readers will find new gags to giggle at with repeat viewings and will look forward to future comic encounters with Beaky and friends.

From the January/February 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Laura Koenig

Laura Koenig is the Team Leader for Central Library Children's Services at the Boston Public Library.

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