MaryJane and Herm Auch dress time honored fairy tales in an overcoat of modernity. Utilizing tongue-in-cheek humor, in addition to a slap stick play on words, Beauty and the Beaks: A Turkey’s Cautionary Tale, relays the story of Beauty, who owned a beauty shop, The Chic Hen (ta-dum), “where she made other chickens look their best. Though Beauty didn’t encourage it, the shop was the center of gossip, with chicken beaks clicking all day.” So one day a new chicken shows up. Turns out its Lance the Turkey arriving for what he thinks is an exclusive invitation to a feast. Suspicious of this special invite, Beauty does a little snooping and finds out that Lance is actually on the menu. “Wattle I do?” Lance wailed’ (yucka yucka); so the plot ensues: a make-over is the answer. First they try to teach him to fly, and then they go to work making him look like a chicken. With a subtle nod at naiveté, Auch manages to entertain us silly, while simultaneously offering up fodder for an identity versus conformity discussion.
And if this weren’t enough fun, the illustrations get even better. “Mary Jane made the chicken mannequins with needle-felted wool wings and yarn hand feathers. She sculpted a variety of polymer clay eyes and beaks for each bird, designed and sewed the outfits, and sculpted the shoes from polymer clay. Herm designed and built the sets from found and constructed objects. He made a miniature photo studio with movable lights. After photographing and scanning all the elements into his computer, he scaled them to fit the scenes.” Their metal artist son, Ian fabricated the chicken-sized beauty parlor chair for The Chic Hen. A must read for you and your small one!Read Also: Chickerella, The Nutquacker, and Hen Lake.