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The Picture Book Buzz

Help Wanted: One Rooster - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

Farms and barnyard animals are perpetual topics for young readers. Playing with stereotypes and creative problem solving, this gorgeously illustrated book offers young kids a big dose of giggles and will entertain the adult readers as well.

Book cover - a sheep and a cow, waering clothes, and stand with their hooves on their hips in front of a sign "Help Wanted: One Rooster."

Help Wanted: One Rooster

Author: Julie Falatko

Illustrator: Andrea Stegmaier

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers/ Penguin Random House (2024)

Ages: 3-5


Humor, farm animals, being true to yourself, and creative problem solving.


The search for the perfect rooster to save a struggling farm from chaos will leave readers howling—and trying out their very best cock-a-doodle-doo!

A farm.

Bucolic beauty, barns, and...sleepy animals everywhere?

This farm needs a rooster, and Cow is determined to find the perfect candidate.

One rooster, who wakes up first thing in the morning, with a resounding cock-a-doodle-do—is that too much to ask?


This tale of a frenzied farm and the beleaguered cow trying to keep it all together packs more than laughs. As each enthusiastic candidate learns: roostering isn’t what you are, but what you do. And there’s room for everyone.

As long as they wake up early—er, I mean brew strong coffee—or is it press the big button?—oh never mind. All are welcome!

Opening lines:

A farm.

Pastoral beauty, Rolling Fields,

Hardworking animals doing their jobs.

An extremely cool and helpful sheep,

working harder than anyone.

(It's me. I'm the sheep.)

Uh, don't look there.

Or there.

Look-there! That is cow. She is impressive. She is kind.

She has a clipboard. This is a professional cow.

Let's watch as she steps into her brand-new office to find us

a rooster. A focused and undistracted rooster who will get this

farm back on track.

What I LOVED about this book:

I love the sheep's voice and her engagement with the audience. I adore the word choice (Pastoral, impressive, undistracted, ...) that Julie Falatko uses with a feeling of joyful abandon. All of which combine to present a silly adventure on this farm as they search for the 'perfect' rooster.

Internal spread - a barnyard scene. On the left, sheep in a dress stands on a overturned bucket, while the cat, dog, mouse, chicken and rabbit sprawl in various locations. On the right, a cow, in overalls and caryying a clipboard, heads in the barn.

Text © Julie Falatko, 2024. Image © Andrea Stegmaier, 2024.

Andrea Stegmaier's soft-toned, anthropomorphized farm animals have such expressive faces and mannerisms. Cow's overalls, boots, plaid shirt, and clipboard put forward a very business-like personality, while her top knot adds a bit of whimsy. The sweater, pleated skirt combination are so perfect for the rosy-cheeked, no nonsense "extremely cool and helpful" narrator.

Cow and Sheep post a sign and hold interviews to find a rooster for the farm. The first candidate, in an "inexplicable tuxedo," (looking rather like an orchestra musician) suggests that the "ting-a-ling-a-ling" of a bell trumps the old "cock -a-doodle-doo." As he shuffles off dejectedly, a "Must cock-a-doodle-doo. No bells." banner has been added to the job advertisement on the barn.

Internal spread of a rooster ringing a bell on the upper left, while cow and sheep look confused. Ont he right, a banner is added at the bottom of the help wanted sign and the rooster trudges dejectedly off the page.

Text © Julie Falatko, 2024. Image © Andrea Stegmaier, 2024.

Next, a hen proposes coffee instead of crowing and a 'No Coffee" banner is added. Third times the charm, right? So, imagine Cow's surprise when a small brown bird applies to "press the button" the one "that wakes the whole farm." As Sheep adds a "No Button Pushers" banner, she lets slip that the farm has a rooster, but that "his cock-a-doodle-to-do list has become seriously unbalanced." 😊 As Cow bemoans the fate of the farm, Sheep announces a final applicant . . .

Internal spread - on the left cow surprised by a  blob applying to be the farm's rooster. On the right, the blog trying to crow ("Glarka-glarka-bloo") at a startled cow.

Text © Julie Falatko, 2024. Image © Andrea Stegmaier, 2024.

Oh, my word! I love this Blob and his "Glarka-glarka-bloo"! Kids will have so much fun with all of Blob's sounds and expressions. Exasperated, Cow cracks her clipboard, wailing about chaos as the farm's rock-and-roll Rooster rattles off a "cock-a-doodle-doo" at two (pm). Though the four applicants might not be right for the job, they hatch a plot to help the farm. The ending is perfect and even teases a possible sequel. It's funny, touching, and has just the right amount of understated openness to appeal to readers looking for humor, a gentle lesson (on staying true to oneself, friendship, or creative problem solving), or just a happy ending. This is a wonderfully illustrated, giggle inducing, picture book.


Collage of 5 of 50 fram animal cratfs
  • make your own barnyard animals and hold your own interviews for a rooster or other farm animal. How silly can you get? What other animals could try out for rooster's job?

  • do you have an activity you like to do?

  • pair this with Bawk & Roll (Chicken Dance) and Chicken Dance by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Dan Santat, The Sun Is Late and So Is the Farmer by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead, and Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Tim Bowers.

If you missed my interview with Julie Falatko on Monday, find it (here).

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions and resources see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

If you're in the area, check out Julie's book events:

  • June 25, 2024. Story Time and Book Signing as part of the Literacy Volunteers of Bangor’s book drive and fundraiser. The Briar Patch, Bangor, Maine. 11 am

1 Kommentar

Elizabeth Suneby
Elizabeth Suneby
21. Juni

So clever. Can't wait to read.

Gefällt mir
Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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