Saturday, October 30, 2021

Review - Poultrygeist


by Eric Geron
illustrated by Pete Oswald
Date: 2021
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

From a debut picture-book author and a #1 New York Times best-selling illustrator, a wry take on "Why did the chicken cross the road?" that gives a whole new meaning to "the Other Side." Cock-a-doodle-BOO!

It's punny. It's spooky. It's a meta picture book that puts a fresh spin on an old joke and elevates chicken comedy to ghastly new levels. A little spring chicken crosses the road but quickly gets flattened under a semitruck. The barnyard beasts who've gone before break the news: now that Chicken's fried--dispatched to the Other Side--Chicken has a job, an unwanted job, as a noisy troublemaking ghost. This fowl may be weak in the beak, but Chicken knows that scaring people isn't nice. There is such a thing as a friendly ghost, after all--isn't there? Loaded with laughs and shivers, this Halloween-ready treat features ghoulishly funny art by the illustrator of the #1 New York Times best-selling Bad Seed series. Let the haunting begin!

No chickens were harmed in the making of this book.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

The premise of this book is okay, and I like the joke about the chicken crossing the road to get to "the Other Side"... but aside from that, this book is a bit weak. Pete Oswald's illustrations are fine, but I mostly like them for the colour scheme.

The book starts out graphically with a chicken trying to cross the road and being hit by a semi. (No, I'm not kidding. Yes, this is a children's picture book.) Various other ghosts of roadkill greet him on the Other Side and try to convince him to be a scary ghoul. But the chicken wants no part of it. Besides, he's not even scary... is he?

Aside from the overall premise (which is really more of a gimmick the way it was executed here), this book doesn't have that much going for it. The other ghosts are nasty and keep bullying the poor dead chicken into being a bully himself. What kind of message is that supposed to be?

This could've been a great spooky read with a better story. As it is, I'm not sure I'd recommend it to anyone. (And I sure wouldn't recommend it to sensitive readers who wouldn't find anything funny about a chicken being hit by a truck.)

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 2/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.33 out of 5

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