This just in: there is a giant chicken running loose through the city! I repeat--there is a giant chicken terrorizing the streets of Hoboken. Do not leave your windows open and be sure to only leave your apartment when absolutely necessary! Keep all children and dogs indoors until the situation has been taken care of. *
I don't know about you, but if this was an all points bulletin going out in my hometown and I was an abnormally large chicken, I'd feel pretty lousy. And lousy is precisely how Henrietta, the 266-pound chicken of our tale--The Hoboken Chicken Emergency by Daniel Pinkwater--feels after being forced to leave her home. First, she is sold to a young boy to feed his family on Thanksgiving day by a mad scientist that genetically modified her. Then, after being saved a fate of sharing a table with stuffing and cranberry sauce, she is kicked out of her new home after a dog starts a fight with her. To make matters worse, she has no where to go and no one to feed her. If you were in Henrietta's shoes, what would you do?
I'll tell you what! You'd rummage through rubbish bins, nicking all kinds of potato chips and other scraps to fill your hungry belly! You'd hide amongst the tallest buildings in your hometown, hiding from all those that fear and persecute you! You'd run from screams and shouts that made you feel as if you were a horrible chicken being! And saddest of all, you'd never know that your best buddy Arthur was looking to bring you home the whole time!!! Well. That's if you were Henrietta.
This book is quite entertaining, especially once some of the scientist's other modifications are thrown into the mix. The enjoyment factor is quadrupled for anyone from Hoboken, or at least familiar with the city of a square mile. Every so often a street name cropped up and I would squeal with delight that someplace my feet actually walk on a semi-regular basis was immortalized in this delightfully funny book. I can only imagine a kid from Hoboken (or the surrounding area) reading it and thinking, "Washington! That's where my favorite pizzeria is!!" A splendid book all around and a fairly easy read. But, then again, it is set in New Jersey, so it's pretty obvious that it lends itself to being awesome.
The only aspect about this book that may raise a few eyebrows of child readers is the lack of leash laws. This effect may be doubled on the face of a reader from Hoboken, as everyone knows it is NOT customary to let your dogs out the front door in the morning and expect them to come home at night, as the book suggests. It is common knowledge that any dog living in Hoboken is on a tiny leash, followed closely by a well-dressed yuppie carrying some type of pooper-scooper. Also, the dogs MUST be dressed in teeny little coats that may or may not match that of their yuppie owner in the winter months, such as the setting of the book. Other than that snippet of a "fact" found on one page in the book, the tale is quite timeless!
*No actual news reports from the Hoboken Chicken Emergency were harmed in the making of this blogpost. Any and all newscasts have been dramatically reproduced by the executor of this blog for theatric purposes.