July/August 2022 Kids Indie Next List
“Bird lovers, you need this picture book! I adored the chickadee narrating this story, and could imagine my own backyard chickadees as masterminds who steal my blueberries! This picture book offers plenty of fun for readers of all ages.”
— Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC
A flying masked bandit (code name: Chickadee) discovers he isn’t quite who he thinks he is in this fresh and delightful tale about discovering one’s true nature.
Meet Chickadee. Criminal. Rapscallion. All-around bad seed. Sure, he started out obeying the rules, following his parents’ advice about finding things to eat and staying away from houses. But then . . . winter arrives. And it’s so much harder to find food in winter! So when Chickadee spies a “vault” full of “gold” near a house by the park (Wait, wasn’t there something to remember about houses?), he cleverly devises a plan to snatch the “vault full of treasure” without getting caught! He is the King of Thieves! Only, hmm, the humans near the vault seem to want him to visit. Maybe Chickadee’s not a criminal after all?
Monica Silvie’s fun first-person storytelling will have readers falling in love with this cheeky and enormously appealing bird and his endearingly misinformed self-perception. Chickadee’s growing understanding that he’s not actually a criminal, and that what he really wants is a friend, adds a lovely poignancy to the humor. Elina Ellis’s charming, hilarious illustrations bring the adorable Chickadee to life; the way he looks directly at readers with wide-eyed sincerity while he speaks to them is particularly effective. A spread at the back contains facts about black-capped chickadees — illustrated with comments from Chickadee himself — along with further reading and sources, making this both a terrific picture book read-aloud and a great supplement to life science lessons on characteristics and habitats of animals. With such a seamless blend of entertainment and information, learning has never been so much fun!
About the Author
Monica Silvie practiced law for over fifteen years before returning to her earliest passion, writing for children. She has a certificate in illustration from Emily Carr University of Art and Design and lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. Chickadee: Criminal Mastermind is her first book.
Elina Ellis was born in Ukraine and has a master's in children's book illustration from Anglia Ruskin University. She has illustrated several picture books, including Chickadee: Criminal Mastermind, and is the author-illustrator of the Alex's Field Guides series and more. Elina loves wildlife, cooking and a good joke. There is no greater reward for her than a smile on the face of her reader. She lives in Cambridge, United Kingdom.
Chickadee: Criminal Mastermind ... is a fine example of edutainment in which young readers are both entertained and informed.—CM Magazine
... a snappily told picture book, and visually striking, too.—Publishers Weekly
... I expect you'll read this book over and over again. There's no crime in that!—The New York Times