The Hoboken Chicken Emergency (1977) by Daniel Pinkwater, illustrated by Tony Auth (find it on Bookshop)
I wasn’t sure about the book when it was foisted upon me by one of the children’s librarians. Chickens . . . they don’t seem that interesting. This is not the case for 266 pound chickens like Henrietta.
Arthur brings Henrietta home on Thanksgiving having failed to procure a turkey (or duck, or normal sized chicken) for his family’s holiday dinner. But, upon meeting Henrietta, the family decides she might be more pet than poultry. Chaos ensues, however, when Henrietta gets loose.
It’s a cute story and a quick read. The characters created by Daniel Pinkwater (and illustrated by his wife Jill) are memorable and lots of fun. I also really liked the message of the story, which overtly is that “Chickens need love too” but is also just a call for tolerance–something that can never be stated enough. Pinkwater originally wrote this book in the 1970s and I’m pretty confident it will continue to be a favorite for years to come.