Reviews

Starred ReviewSTARRED REVIEW “Deedy's original tale about standing up to oppression couldn't be more timely. Yelchin's saturated, folksy, mixed-media paintings are the perfect partner, fleshing out the characterizations and offering visual humor. This subtle, modern multicultural tale is a must have: "Kee-kee-ree-KEE!" Indeed!”

–Kirkus

Starred ReviewSTARRED REVIEW “Yelchin amplifies themes of protest and injustice in vivid mixed-media caricatures that emphasize the rooster’s humble nobility in contrast to Don Pepe’s sneering autocratic airs. Like the gallito’s cries of “kee-kee-ree-kee!” Deedy’s message about speaking up and speaking out rings as clearly as a bell.”

–Publishers Weekly

Starred ReviewSTARRED REVIEW “Lively art captures the flavor of the story—both its humor and its more sobering points. The characters’ faces and postures flash with fear, anger, frustration, stubbornness, and joy. Bright hues and busy page layouts reflect a boisterous La Paz but fade to dull blues and open space when Don Pepe comes into power. Following the narrative arc, the color and energy return with the gallito’s arrival and resistance.”

—The Horn Book

“… perfect for a rowdy read-aloud. Illustrator Eugene Yelchin’s vibrant folk-art illustration expresses this cheerful proliferation of sound and activity in bright, silly, nearly chaotic profusion. Whether it’s a spirited child or a determined teen, every family has its own noisy rooster: insistent, persistent, exasperating at times, and with a song that must be sung — and should be heard.”

—The Washington Post

“This rollicking original tale develops themes of oppressive governance and squelched identity within a fanciful scenario… Art, both folkloric and quirky, captures details of life with and without music. Further, caricature nails the tyrant at the top, an archetypal bully. Author Deedy is Cuban American, and illustrator Yelchin a Russian émigré. Perhaps drawing from personal experiences with dictatorship, they relay a pleasant yarn with greater purpose — to honor freedom and inspire us to resist being censored and silenced.”

—San Francisco Chronicle

“… a battle of wills in which the foolhardy mayor attacks the rooster with threats and bodily harm — all to no avail in a book that reminds us to stay strong and band together when we believe in a cause. Bright, colorful paintings by Eugene Yelchin add just the right touch to this meaningful book.

—The Missourian

“Rendered in oil pastel, colored pencil, gouache, and acrylic, Yelchin gives himself over to a crazy cacophony of color when he draws the noisy world of the little village. His Don Pepe is perfect, a slickster in a pinstripe suit, thin little mustache, and sickly pallor. To my mind, the image of the teakettle holding its breath while the sneaky little eyes of Don Pepe peep over the windowsill is nothing less than perfection incarnate. As for his rooster, that joyful bird isn’t just the standard red and orange. His coat of many colors involves blue, green, pink, scarlet, and so much more. When he stands in pure defiance of Don Pepe’s will, look at the placement of his feet. As any dancer or master of martial arts would tell you, that is the stance of someone who is standing strong and is not going to be knocked down (literally or figuratively). As Don Pepe descends into desperation and madness (brilliantly captured by Yelchin) the rooster changes not a jot. He may be the one being put through trials and tribulations, but ultimately he isn’t the one running for the door.”

—Elizabeth Bird for School Library Journal Blog

“Yelchin’s expressive, saturated illustrations, rendered in oil pastels, colored pencils, gouache, and acrylics, are both funny and stirring. This is a book to crow about, especially now.”

—Julie Danielson for Kirkus

“Told with a storyteller’s flair, the narrative reads like a folktale, while Yelchin’s mixed-media illustrations are vibrant and perfectly suit the text. VERDICT A fun read-aloud for any library, especially ones looking for stories with Hispanic influence."

–School Library Journal

"Bright, humorous and wonderfully expressive mixed-media paintings by Eugene Yelchin."

—Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“The brave rooster serves as a stand-in the millions of freedom-seeking people all over the world throughout history who endured deprivation, imprisonment, and torture – many of them paying the ultimate price – to express themselves and to make it possible for others to speak. Yelchin’s bright mixed-media paintings contrast the lively rooster with the villainous mayor whose human characteristics (for instance, turning green with indigestion at the endless crowing) foreshadow his humiliation at the hands of the people who first granted him the power to terrify and silence.”

—The Pirate Tree: Social Justice and Children’s Literature