The Fake-Chicken Kung Fu Fighting Blues is a warm-hearted story about Anthony, a boy who is uprooted from Chinatown in Toronto and moves with his family to the quaint, quiet, and hockey-obsessed town of Berksburg. He meets and interesting new assortment of friends and finds a passion for a new hobby along the way.
Throughout the book, the writer sprinkles dry, moderately sarcastic wit into the prose, which brings some levity to the story. However, this is really the only humor in a narrative that really could have used more laughs. The overall story is one that should be appealing to young audiences, but it suffers from a lack of much in the way of action or humor, two things that are almost essential to hold children’s interest.
The narrative strongly enforces some wholesome lessons about the value of friendship and family, the importance of tradition, and the rewards of hard work. The protagonist also faces the struggle to fit in after arriving in a place where he clearly doesn’t fit in, and thinks he never will, and seeing someone face that particular challenge may be very valuable to readers who are facing their own situations of a physical move, a change of family dynamics, or just a feeling of awkwardness or being the outsider among their friends.
Overall, this book is a light, wholesome read. The story is enjoyable, and many children may find it entertaining. It is also a short read, so young readers will not find themselves bogged down in it. However, there is nothing that particularly stands out about this book. The story is a light family and friends drama, but I would have liked to see more of the fake-chickens and kung fu fighting that seemed to be promised in the title, and I think children will agree.
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by James Lorimer & Company Ltd., Publishers
Violence/Gore: Characters knock each other down or cause minor property damage accidentally a few times; children threaten other children in the schoolyard; characters take a few tumbles down hills or through snow; a schoolyard fight with hitting and no major injury; a character punches another playfully; a snowball fight; a character jokingly threatens to break another’s arm.
Sex/Nudity: A character uses two dead fish to mimic kissing, making kissing noises to go along with it; a character notices a girl’s pretty eyes a few times; it is mentioned that a boy is a female character’s boyfriend; a boy behaves protectively of his sister when she is around other boys; mention is made that women “really dig” a man’s hobby; a character remarks that romance makes the world an amazing place; adult couples and young couples flirt nervously a couple of times; a girl kisses a boy on the cheek.
Mature Subject Matter:
Moving to a new town; bullying.
Alcohol / Drug Use: