Saturday, February 15, 2014

"Kung Pow Chicken"

            In an earlier post, I wrote about a book called Boris on the Move that is part of a new Scholastic division called Branches.  I wanted to see if the rest of the books in the Branches division were as wonderful as Boris on the Move.  After reading Kung Pow Chicken: Let’s Get Cracking by Cyndi Marko (published 2014) this morning, I am reassured that Scholastic has a great thing on their hands.  I have no doubt that this part of Scholastic will explode in the near future.

Kung Pow Chicken: Let’s Get Cracking is the first in a series that centers around a little chicken named Gordon Blue and, to a lesser extent, his brother Benedict.  Gordon and Ben’s uncle is a scientist, and one day while visiting his lab Gordon and Ben accidently fell into a toxic sludge.  Ever since that day, Gordon felt strange.  Indeed, “He tingled when danger was near.  He flapped his wings like the wind.  And he crowed louder than other chickens.  His bok was worse than his bite.”  Gordon decided that he needed to be a superhero, and so Kung Pow Chicken was born.  His little brother becomes his sidekick, egg drop, and they wait for the day when they can fight crime.  They finally get it when all the chickens around town mysteriously begin to lose all their feathers after eating a strange, glowing cookie.  Kung Pow Chicken and Egg Drop soon find themselves up against the forces of the evil Granny Goosebumps, and they must use their skill to save the day.

            Your elementary school boy is going to love this book.  It has everything a little boy would love—adventure, humor, great graphics, and the classic fight between good and evil.  I’m not entirely sure they would get all of the humor, like when they go to the old folks home and it is called the “Old Yolks Home,” but I think that if this book was read with an adult, those things could be easily explained to add to the humor.  There are a great deal of chicken and egg-related puns.  There were a couple times where I thought it was a little overdone, but I could imagine a child thinking it was the funniest thing they ever read.  Even if they didn’t have an adult with them to explain all of the jokes, I think there are plenty of jokes within the text that they would understand on their own.

            This book has many features of both a graphic novel and a chapter book.  This is a characteristic of the Branches division of Scholastic.  I won’t repeat what I wrote before about how amazing Branches is, but I will direct you here if you are interested in finding out more information.  The book reads like a graphic novel because of the amount of pictures in the text that utilize thought and speech bubbles.  There are also pages that have more than one frame on them.  It also reads like a chapter book, however, because it is divided into chapters, has lines of text throughout, and does not have great number of frames on each page that are characterized by graphic novels.  It is the best of both worlds, and I think that a young and struggling reader would find this very appealing.  Although it is geared more towards boys, I think that girls would also be able to enjoy this.  My favorite part?  Gordon’s little brother, Benedict/Egg Drop, is a baby chicken in a shell the whole time.  I have no idea why, but that cracks me up looking at it!

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