Charlie changes into a chicken by Sam Copeland

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Illus. by Sarah Horne. Penguin, 2019, ISBN: 9780241346211.
(Age: 8-10 Themes: Family stories, School stories, Humour. Nine-year-old Charlie McGuffin's life is stressful, his older brother Smooth Move is seriously ill in hospital and his parents are extremely worried about him. At school the school bully is focussed on his target, Charlie.
When Charlie becomes 'sweatily, heart-poundingly, stressed' he starts to panic, which unfortunately leads to some life-changing problems: he morphs into an animal. With an unusual electric feeling, Charlie changes into an eight-legged eight-eyed hairy spider chased by their cat Chairman Mao.
The school play is coming up soon and Charlie's worries increase as he's been cast as Sad Potato Number 1. Unfortunately, his on-stage partner is Duncan his arch-nemesis. What happens if he turns into a naked mole rat or a fish in front of the audience? He turns to his friends for help to assist him with this life-changing issue.
Sam Copeland writes in a humorous style, with plenty of comments, asides to the reader, laugh-out-loud situations like Charlie the rhinoceros pooping out of his bedroom window onto his parents. The animal antics and silly situations that occur when Charlie is a flea, a spider or a pigeon are creatively illustrated by Sarah Horne. With plenty of grossness, impossibly funny scenes and narrow escapes, along side some special family moments Charlie changes into a chicken is just right for readers from eight to ten to enjoy. Teacher's notes are available.
Rhyllis Bignell