Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Houghton Mifflin, 2007
About the Book
From the publisher:
When people danced to Joe Beebee’s music they forgot about bad knees, tight shoes, backaches, blisters, and beetles . . . They forgot sickness, sadness, and sin. Joe Beebee’s music, folks say, will take you up so high, your problems look small enough to stomp on.
But, worries a plain brown hen, can it make a quiet rooster sing? Can it save her best friend from becoming Quiet Rooster Stew? Will Joe Beebee even play for chickens? With art as fun as waltzing on the moon and with words as lively as a fiddle, this book captures the power of music to heal and of friendship to endure.
- A literacy guide for Chicken Joy on Redbean Road: A Bayou Country Romp, created by author Tracie Vaughan Zimmer. Available here.
- Louisiana Musicians — research and learn about Zydeco music — an accordion-based genre that began, shortly after World War II, in the south-central and southwest prairies of Louisiana and is popular across the south but particularly in Louisiana, Texas, and California. The music integrated waltzes, shuffles, two-steps, blues, rock and roll, and most dance music forms of the era.
- Check out additional information at the Zydeco site here to learn about those who are notable in the zydeco music genre.
- Chicken Joy on Redbean Road is featured “In the Spotlight” — a monthly column published in Library Sparks. Check the November 2007 issue.
- Try making your own musical instruments from a cigar box or a screen door.
Included on The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books – “books of special distinction” for April 2007.
Miss Cleoma, “a plain brown hen,” loves the crowing of the blue-headed rooster, but when he loses his voice after a case of the chicken measles, he is threatened with becoming “quiet rooster stew.” Deciding that music will cure him, Cleoma sets out to find Joe Beebee, the best fiddle player there is.
Saturated in Cajun and Creole cadences and sensibilities, this rollicking, multilayered tale is at once lyrical and tongue-in-cheek funny. The playful illustrations are a clever mix of collage and bright watercolors that feature varying perspectives and impressively expressive poultry. The spreads are overlaid with panels of handmade paper containing the pictures, with chickens dancing a red-dotted trail over, under, and around them. The sheer insouciance of both text and art will have readers dancing the two-step and sharing that chicken joy as well.
— School Library Journal
In a text that is at the same time eloquent and hilarious, Martin creates a rousing barnyard tale into which she skillfully interweaves the story of fictional musician Joe Beebee, recounting his childhood love of music and his attempts to fashion his own instrument from a cigar box and an old screen door. … lively illustrations, employing collage and found objects, are the perfect complement to this lyrical Louisiana tale of good music and good friends.
— Kirkus Reviews
Martin’s cumulative tale … has some fine turns of phrase, and Sweet’s mixed-media illustrations, picturing exuberant, brightly hued characters on backgrounds of creamy paper, have a buoyancy that elevates the text. An author’s note recognizes Louisiana musicians, “who play music so good it could make quiet roosters sing,” and the story pays homage to the area and the music with the occasional Cajun phrase.
With its unquestioned animal/human interaction and its repetition, this story, in Martin’s quietly lyrical prose, has a folklike flavor.