The Chicken Dance by Jacques Couvillon

My lovely husband brought this home on Saturday from BEA (Book Expo), so it is an advance reading copy (the book is due out August 21). I thought this was hilarious, along the lines of Roald Dahl’s Matilda. Don lives with his two parents on Horse Island. They live on a farm in a community that reveres chickens. Don loves the chickens and learns everything he can about them. His parents, on the other hand, are revolted by the chickens, and in fact seem to be revolted by Don, Horse Island, and everything about their lives. It’s clear that they lie all the time, especially about Dawn, Don’s sister whom they say died of scarlet fever. They are mean to Don, incredibly stupid, and basically rotten people–but it’s funny because it’s so over-the-top.

chickendance1.jpgThat’s why I totally hated the ending of the book, in which suddenly we are supposed to have empathy for them and Don chooses to stay with his lousy mother, instead of escaping from her. Were this a movie and I a test audience, I may have actually booed the ending! It just didn’t ring true to the rest of the book. Still, a very funny good read for kids. I especially liked the chicken aspect as I grew up with chickens myself!


4 thoughts on “The Chicken Dance by Jacques Couvillon

  1. Hi Sarah. I want to thank you for the great review. I’m really glad you enjoyed it and I hope that some of Don’s observations made you laugh out loud. I’m sorry that you didn’t like the ending. I lost a lot of hair trying to decide what to do with it. But Sarah, please, you have to trust me on this. I’m working on the second book now and although I can’t tell you what’s going to happen, I can tell you that things are going to work out for Don. You have a great website. Thanks for encouraging people to read.

    Take Care,
    Jacques Couvillon

  2. Thank you so much for writing! I’m really excited to hear you have a second book in the works and looking forward to reading it. I did indeed laugh out loud quite a bit throughout this, and I’m not sure I mentioned that my family kept chickens growing up, so I enjoyed that angle as well. Glad you checked in!

  3. Hello Sarah. I have just, literally just, finished reading the book as well, and what I liked the most about the ending is that Don has finally decided to step up for what he believes in (with letting KC help him make his final decision of whom he has to live with). The book is great. I absolutely loved every minute I spent reading it. I also loved how Mr. Jacques used Don’s narration to show us how much of a ‘child’ he was. He was so innocent at some points. I definitely wanted to have Don as a kid of mine. He was portrayed very beautifully and thought he didn’t get what he truly deserves from his parents. Leon Leonard was a good side-character as well. Those two work out great as friends.

    But about your point, Sarah, of Don deciding not to leave his mother. Well, I would’ve probably made the same choice. After all, his ‘Mother’ and ‘Father’ did give him a roof above his head, a place to live and food to eat, didn’t they? It is true that they have been mean to him and kept mentioning Dawn’s achievements, but I don’t think Mother would be able to live now that Father is planning on leaving. She first lost Dawn and now she’s losing her husband (yeah, due to her recklessness but still), do you think she’d be able to live if Don made the decision of leaving? I thought, and weirdly enough, that KC actually made the right choice, and that Don was pretty mature to have chosen not to leave his mother.

    Ah, I can’t stop talking or thinking about the story. I definitely recommend it. Thank you, Jacques, for giving us such a beautifully written story. I do hope I get a chance of reading the second book. I can’t wait to know what happens with Don.


    Dana Kaddoura

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