Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Chicken Dance

Don Schmidt lives on a chicken farm in Horse Island,
Louisiana. He is unpopular at school as well as at home. He
has absolutely no friends and everyone refers to him as "new
kid," even though he has lived on Horse Island since
kindergarten. At home his mother constantly refers to his
dead sister Dawn, and thinks the world revolves around
herself. Out of loneliness he befriends the chickens living
in his backyard and they become his best friends. Don's luck
soon changes when he becomes the youngest person ever to win
the chicken-judging contest at the local dairy fair.
Everyone wants to be his friend and his mother seems to
care about him a little more, but not enough to stop
ordering him around. Don is content with his life until he
finds a metal box with a birth certificate in it. The birth
certificate belongs to a boy named Stanley. Don wonders who
Stanley could be and decides to ask his father. His father
simply tells Stanley that it is his birth certificate and
they changed his name to Don, because the uncle whom he was
named after was a bad man. Don doesn't believe his father
and begins to believe that Stanley is actually his twin that
got kidnapped when they were younger. Stanley isn't real,
but Don believes he is and talks to him like he was a normal
person. Don soon learns that the hidden birth certificate
isn't the only secret his parents have been keeping from
him. Once he learns one secret he is hungry for more, and
then they all unravel into a shocking, unforeseeable truth.

For the most part I enjoyed the book. It was full of
unexpected twists and turns and made me laugh. There were
parts of the book though that made me very mad. Especially
when Don's mother forgot his birthday - twice, and when she
wouldn't even congratulate him on his winning the
chicken-judging contest. I would get very frustrated with
the book and put it down and walk away at these points,
because I feel that no mother should ever forget a child's
birthday and should never treat their child the way his
mother treated him. Besides this, the book was suspenseful
and ends with a bang you would never see coming. Jacques
Couvillon created a good first novel that I would recommend
to other teen readers and I look forward to reading what he
has coming next!

The book has some mature content that I would not
recommend for readers aged 9-12. For example, Don's mother
has an affair which I don't think is very appropriate for
younger children, but some parents may be fine with these
types of topics. Also, there is reference to drinking and
sex, which again may not be appropriate for younger readers.
Rating (0 - 10 scale): 7

Reviewer Age:15

Reviewer City, State and Country: Cur

No comments: