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This book is best listened to. You know how some books paint vivid images in your mind? Well, this book paints audible sounds in your mind. I love the voices and personalities Paul Michael paints with his narration. I would have never envisioned Chantacleer with a southern drawl, but it fits!
The story -- is more than just a classic struggle of good against evil. The evil is so evil you can taste it; Wangerin paints the evil creatures as vividly as he creates the "good" animals. The "good" animals each have fully developed personalities that make the barnyard and its environs very like a human community; you have the innocents, the conniving, the thieves, the naive, and everything in between.
My absolute favorite scene in the book is the night before battle, when Chantacleer gently crows blessings and affirmations individually on each creature in his realm, singing away their fears with his voice and replacing them with peace. He sings the entire night away, filling his "people" with the strength they need to face what they all fear will be their death, death at the hands of the most gruesome and nasty creatures ever to fill the earth.
The writing is sheer delight, the characters are full-fleshed, and the story itself is, well, you'd best read for your self; I guarantee the battle will keep you fully engaged!
This book is Good, in the best sense of the word. A must-read (or, in this case a "must-listen"). Well worth it at any price.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I read this book in college and loved it - it was fantastic to listen to it again as I drove around in my job. Anyone who loved Animal Farm will adore this different twist on the life inside a barnyard.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This is a strange and entertaining fable, a pacey cross between Lord of the Rings and Watership Down. The heroic (if vain) Chanticleer, after some small domestic dramas, must face down an ancient evil in a hybrid of chicken farm and epic fantasy landscape.The reader has a great time, alternating between the Br'er Rabbit folksy and cod-Nordic Saga.
The hero is wise, lonely, and flawed-but-Chosen; the females are gentle, passive, and adoring; the Evil is fearsome and, uh, evil; and you're either with Chanticleer or against him in the final extremely bloody battle. It's a straight-up patriarchal fantasy of the rawest kind. It's an odd effect, as the original Chanticleer stories mock the rooster's delusional belief that he makes the sun rise and are a satire on exactly the sort of naive chivalric story 'Book of the Dun Cow' winds up being. In this story the rooster actually does have some sort of mystical role ordained by God and it's extremely important this not be questioned. Sometimes it feels a bit like the sort of story the Pigs would assign young subservient animals to read in Animal Farm.
However! its fun, affecting, wonderfully read, only occasionally annoying, and a good way to spend 8 hours. Four stars!