Monday, January 26, 2009

Review: The Hoboken Chicken Emergency

The Hoboken Chicken Emergency by Daniel Pinkwater
3.5 stars

Reason for reading: Daring Book Challenge

Description: "When Arthur Bobowicz is sent out to bring home the family's Thanksgiving turkey, he returns instead with Henrietta -- a 266 pound chicken with a mind of her own. Feathers fly when this colossal clucker descends upon Hoboken, New Jersey."

First sentence: "Nobody in Arthur Bobwicz's family really liked turkey."

My thoughts: Not much to say, really, it's a really short book, but it's funny and fun. Pinkwater is always a hoot. Or perhaps a cluck, in this case. The part about Anthony DePalma, fake chicken catcher, is hilarious, particularly his top-secret method of trapping poultry. It's also a really neat example of a multicultural story that isn't going out of its way to be one - there are simply lots of immigrant families living in Hoboken and that's the way it is.

The edition I read is is a 30th-anniversary one, with new illustrations and, I think, a few changes to the text, as there's a reference to e-mail, which certainly wasn't around in 1977. But other than that, the strangeness and the good lesson of the importance of kindness are intact. I remember enjoying Pinkwater when I was a middle-grader myself, so he's Pinkwater is a classic and always a great recommendation for reluctant readers or kids looking for a laugh.

Addition: I was searching my parents' basement for childhood books and I discovered I actually own a copy of this book, whoops! But I'm still counting it because, unlike other Pinkwaters I read as a kid, I didn't have any memory of it at all.


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