Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Chicken Boy

Frances O’Roark Dowell is the author of this novel. You may have read Dovey Coe.

Tobin McCauley has led a strange life since his mother died five years ago. One of the teachers described him as “One Bad Apple and snot-nosed punks.” This may give you an idea about how many people felt about Tobin’s family, but as you read you will discover what is the real problem for all of the McCauleys.

Tobin meets Henry Otis, a boy new to the school. Henry wants to be Tobin’s friend, which is hard for him to understand. Henry is very much interested in chickens, not as food, but as beings. Tobin feels like people are saying “What’s Tobin doing with a friend?” Henry’s home is much different than Tobin’s – he describes going from Henry’s house to his as “…walking out of a color movie into one that was nothing but black and white.”

Henry tells McCauley “when you learn about chickens, you learn about life.” As you read the story you will find that this is true for Tobin. Henry and chickens help Tobin learn to stand on his own and deal with life. He learns to have self-confidence and "You could love some things you'd never guess" -- like a lost father, an angry grandmother, and a confused, lonely brother.

The author has developed the characters very well as she presents a dysfunctional family and a story of friendship.

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