“Chickens in the Headlights” – Is It Funny?

Book Review : Chickens in the Headlights
By Matthew Buckley

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Spoiler Alert!

What are a mother and father to do with SEVEN rambunctious boys under the age of eleven? For the Buckleys, the days are filled with running, yelling, food, wrestling, and burping. Every night culminates in an epic bedtime battle.When the school year ends, however, Mom and Dad decide to harness some of their boys’ apparently inexhaustible energy and buy some goats and chickens for them to take care of. While they are initially thrilled with the “responsibility,” the boys soon learn that it’s far tougher-and far funnier for the reader-than it appears.

Adult Point of View

I was looking forward to reading a humorous book for elementary kids. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. It was okay, but not fabulous. I have raised 3 boys so I thought SEVEN boys’ antics might be something we would enjoy as a family read. When I picked up the copy in the library it was in the adult section which instantly made me cautious.

The book is full of body humor which I just can’t find that funny. The voice of the main character, Matthew, is very mature for a story from an eight year olds perspective. Perhaps the perspective is meant to represent a somewhat omniscient Matthew as he retells the events from memory from his diary, called the Book of Injustices. There are a few funny moments, such as the father’s misunderstood sense of humor. The grandmother gives her pearls of wisdom to the young Matthew to enjoy the journey. Though truth in this statement, I didn’t feel like it connected to the story very well.

Over half the novel is over before the Buckley family acquires the chickens and two goats. It seemed like poor timing when the chickens are the pivotal event in the boys’ lives from the title. Towards the end the chickens are killed to be the winter’s food for the family. The scene is a little graphic with decapitated chickens running about for their last few moments. Even with this scene I felt like it could have been shelved in the YA or children’s section. Harry Potter and other fiction is more violent than anything in this novel. There is no sexual innuendo or even cursing in the book. There is nothing inherently wrong with the book, I just didn’t like it.

I thought Schooled by Gordon Korman and The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger were hysterical and had me, my daughter and mother all bursting out with laughter.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars
2 1:2 star

– the Mother

I didn’t pass it on to anyone else in the family for review.


About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow-cooked in a tagine. I write stories and illustrate in ink.
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