chickendanceRemember those embarrassing dance moves your Aunt Myrna unveiled at Cousin Frannie’s wedding? She flapped her arms, wiggled her tush and tumbled onto the parquet floor?

Well, that’s not this chicken dance.

No siree, this Chicken Dance is a brilliant barnyard romp featuring two hilarious hens and their idol Elvis Poultry, thank you. (Thankyouverymuch.)

Author Tammi Sauer grew up on a Kansas farm, tending cows at dawn. Those daybreak chores paid off, ’cause  this little lady sure knows how to milk the humor.

According to henhouse pals Marge and Lola, Elvis Poultry is a hunk of bawking love. When the barnyard talent show is announced, the pair discover the grand prize is two tickets to Elvis’ Final Doodle Doo concert tour. They must win!

But the ducks waddle by and wave a wing at the hopeful hens. “Don’t bother, drumsticks.” Seems ducks are top dog at this farm.

Marge and Lola test out their talents but the ducks quack at every failed attempt. When Marge and Lola finally hit the stage–following solid goat, pig and cow acts–they stammer and gulp. A duck heckles, “What’s the matter? Are you chicken?” so they begin to flap, shake and bawk. Just regular chicken stuff, nothin’ fancy. But the crowd loves it and crows for more.

The next spread features Marge and Lola performing dance moves that would make Aunt Myrna shake in her boots. They vogue, point like John Travolta, domo arigato misuta robotto, and walk like an Egyptian. Illustrator Dan Santat makes chickens boogie better than So You Think You Can Dance finalists.

I can’t reveal the contest results, as that would spoil all the feathery fun. But I will tell you that Elvis is in the building. Err, I mean barn.

album_bio_tammiThe jokes even extend beyond the story, with end pages that demo step-by-step “Disco Chicken” and “Chattanooga Choo Choo” dance moves. Funky album covers replace the typical staid author and illustrator photos.

Yes, just one look at the blinged-out, white-caped Elvis Poultry on the front cover, and you know this ain’t your Aunt Myrna’s paltry poultry impersonation.

Can’t get enough of the silliness?

Publisher Sterling Kids is holding a video contest now through October 31. Just shake your tail feathers along to the official music and post your hoe-down on YouTube.

And tell them Elvis Poultry sent ya.

chickendanceChicken Dance
Written by Tammi Sauer
Illustrated by Dan Santat
Sterling Kids, August 2009
Want it? Sure you do!