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CHICKEN BOY by Frances O’Roark Dowell Kirkus Star

CHICKEN BOY

By Frances O’Roark Dowell

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: July 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-689-85816-7
Publisher: Atheneum

Seventh-grader Tobin has pretty much flown under the radar most of his life, only stealing a paper clip now and then to prove his relationship to the rest of his juvenile-delinquent family. Why now, then, does Henry the new kid, seem to want to adopt him as a bosom buddy? Despite himself, Tobin finds himself falling into a friendship with Henry and his little brother Harrison, and pretty soon, he’s raising chickens as part of a joint scientific-entrepreneurial project the two brothers have cooked up. Aside from having a passel of criminal siblings, Tobin’s mother has died, his father parents by neglect and his feisty Granny’s interference has landed him in foster care. Tobin narrates his story, his voice appealingly self-deprecatory and earthy. Remarkably enough, the Social Services intervention turns out to be just the right thing to pull the family back together, but the process unfolds so unpresumptuously that readers will be rooting for them all the way. Tobin’s own blossoming, through friendship, and the rediscovery of his family, and the love for and of his chickens, is entirely satisfying—just right. (Fiction. 10-14)