The Chicken Doesn't Skate


Author: Gordon Korman

Published: 1996

Genre: Young adult

About The Chicken Doesn't Skate: Henrietta is supposed to be part of a science fair project but she may be needed elsewhere.

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Review of The Chicken Doesn't Skate

Milo pushed his Bertrand St. Rene glasses higher up on his nose. "My project will be entitled 'The Complete Life Cycle of a Link in the Food Chain.'"

Well, that must have been something good because Mrs. Baggio beamed like a lighthouse.

"That's so deep," breathed Kelly Marie. Ten to one she had no idea what he was talking about.

"Awesome!" added Zachary. Twenty to one for him.

I rolled my eyes. "Okay. I'll bite. What does it mean?"

The Bag was all over that. "Yes, Milo. What the class wants to know is the subject of your study. What link in the food chain?"

California Boy looked importantly around the classroom.

"The chicken."

...from pages 4-5

Edited transcript of a conversation between LMB and JB, age 12, on 25 March 2009. I would like to point out that I did not edit his words. He really does talk like this.

What's the name of the book?
The name of the book is The Chicken Doesn't Skate.
And who is it written by?
Gordon Korman.
What is it about?
It is about four people, I think. There's a scientist, a screenwriter, a hockey player, and an animal rights activist. They all have nothing in common until Henrietta comes along.
Who's Henrietta?
Henrietta is a chicken for the scientist's, Milo Neal's, science fair project.
So he's still in school?
Yes, they're all still in school. And they all have different plans for the chicken. The scientist has different plans than everyone else as I just said.
What is his plan for the chicken?
Chop it up and turn it into food to serve at the science fair.
What are the other characters' names?
The hockey player is Adam Lurie.
What does he want to do with the chicken?
He doesn't want to do anything with the chicken but after he's forced to take the chicken to a game, they realize this chicken is a good luck charm to them. They had lost every game in their season so far but here comes this chicken, forced to take it to a game, and suddenly they're winning every single game that chicken is with them on.
Who else is in it?
The screenwriter is Zachary Gustafson.
What does he want to do with the chicken?
He doesn't really want to do anything with the chicken. Milo Neal is the son of a huge producer, Victor Neal, and Zachary wants to get close to Milo so he can meet Milo's dad and give him a couple screenplays. So he's starting to schmooze him and he's saying they're best buds and friends forever.
The animal rights activist is Kelly Marie Ginsberg. She thinks Henrietta is a cute little pet that she just wants to keep forever but when she learns of Milo's plans for this chicken, she starts freaking out, writing letters to people of authority telling them all about things. It went all the way up to the President of the United States, telling him that "although I may not be of much concern, you are needed to save a life" or something like that and quite frankly that really began to tick me off. I don't know why.
Tick you off?
It just seemed like... they're only 11 years old.
All of them are 11 years old?
Adam Lurie is in grade 7 but he failed science so he has to take grade 6 science. Everyone else is in grade 6.
So why did it tick you off?
She's so young, I don't know why she should be writing things like that.
You didn't find that very believable?
What about the other parts, the other characters? Were they believable?
Well, it was an interesting book to read but it would be even better if you were one of those four character slots.
What do you mean, character slots?
Because the book is told in first person view. Each chapter tells you who describes this chapter. When Kelly or KMG is talking it'll say "Psychology Talk" with her name and the way the text is put reflects the character's attributes.
Is that a good thing?
I find that creative in the novel writer's sense. When the screenwriter is talking, it says "Downloaded from the Hard Disk". Usually it starts off with him writing a screenplay and then after a while it starts including chickens and he's not happy about it.
His screenplay starts including chickens?
Yeah, he dreams about his screenplays and in the middle of his screenplays, he'll see chickens.
And then the one that was reflected the most was Milo Neal, "Science Notes". What they did was they had those little arrows and he made a point and usually he'd say something like further study required but he'd do all of it in short form, and he'd say the names in short form and the author would write it very scientifically so you'd know it was him writing.
So it was easy to tell them apart?
Yeah. There were a couple good things that made me kinda laugh and things that I just didn't kinda like and it doesn't just be around those four characters. It also does "From the Diary of Mrs. Baggio", their teacher, and "From the Clipboard of Coach Crenshaw", the hockey coach. So they don't just stick it.
They don't just stick it?
They don't just stick to the same characters over and over and over because it would get boring quite soon.
Did you like it?
Yes, I liked it and I recommend it mostly for people who fill the character slots.
People like hockey players and scientists and stuff?
Yeah but anyone can really read it if they want to. It's up to them. I'd recommend it for kids ages of 11 or 12, maybe a little younger.
You liked it a lot or a little?
In between.
Would you read another book by this author?

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Added 16 July 2009.
Updated 24 August 2013.