Waiting for Chicken Smith

by David Mackintosh

Staying on the beach in a cabin his family goes to every year, the young narrator... read more

Staying on the beach in a cabin his family goes to every year, the young narrator waits for Chicken Smith, who always stays “with his dad and his dog, Jelly” in a cabin nearby. He recounts their traditions and exploits (it’s clear he idolizes Chicken Smith), and expresses frustration that Chicken Smith has yet to arrive. “This year Chicken Smith’s cabin looks different. The windows are shut. The grass is long, and I don’t see his bike.” The narrator’s sister is eager to do things with him, but he’s too busy thinking about Chicken Smith to find her anything but an annoyance, until the two of them share an experience that even he and Chicken Smith never had, opening his eyes to the possibilities—and person— right in front of him. Expectation and disappointment are palpable in a picture book that also holds the promise of good times regardless. The quirky, off-kilter art style heightens the emotionally unsettled feel of the young, brown-skinned narrator in a story that offers myriad opportunities for inference. (Ages 4–8)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2020

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