The Chicken Doesn’t Skate by Gordon Korman

This book was … uh, well, I’m not the target audience for this book, because this book is for children. I’d guess a mid elementary school level, as it was simple vocabulary but an interesting narrative structure, or at least, interesting compared to other books you’re reading in 4th grade. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I recently read The Chicken Doesn’t Skate by Gordon Korman (Scholastic, 1996). It was somethin’, alright.

The Book

A student’s science fair project involves raising a chick from birth and then getting it butchered when it’s a fully grown chicken, to illustrate the full span of one link in the food chain. Other kids get emotionally attached to the chick, especially after a winning streak in hockey is attributed to the chicken’s presence, and even the main jock wants it alive – if only for his team’s victory to continue. Meanwhile, another nerdy kid dreams of being a writer and longs to not get picked on by the jocks.

the chicken doesn't skate by gordon korman

Is the chicken going to be killed in the name of science?

The Book is for Kids

So uh, how the heck did I get this book in the first place and why the heck did I read it?

This book was in a free bin at Green Element Resale. I thought it looked funny and kinda dumb and was confused by the title, so I was like… sure. It’s free. I’ll take it.

I proceeded to have it on my shelf for months, even moved places once or twice with it, and kept putting off reading it because, yeah. But space on my bookshelf is at a premium, so finally I forced myself to sit down and get through it.

It was a surprisingly well-written, good book. It switched viewpoints a lot and they were all very clear and differentiated, and I appreciated getting into some characters’ heads. The ending was not at all what I expected and was a little unbelievable, in the nice way that children’s books should be with how they wrap everything up nicely, though I do wish we would’ve seen more epilogue.

The one flaw with the multiple-viewpoints thing was that there was never really a clear protagonist. It was an ensemble book, but I’m not sure if it was a clear ensemble, and there wasn’t really a hero until one kinda emerged out of nowhere at the end. But again – I am not a child, so it’s hard for me to come at this book with any criticism.

I would recommend this book for your kids though. I guess. If they like … reading books about … middle school social politics? I don’t know. Kids aren’t my thing. But the book was enjoyable, so yeah, cool!