March 08, 2014

Kung Pow Chicken: Let's Get Cracking!

by Cyndi Marko
80 pp.
Ages 5-7
January 2014

Young readers who believe they're too old for picture books (though I believe no one ever is!) and still not proficient readers for humourous illustrated novels like the ever popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Kinney, Harry N. Abrahms), Dear Dumb Diary (Benton, Scholastic) or Geronimo Stilton (Stilton, Scholastic) will love this new Kung Pow Chicken series from Cyndi Marko.  Forget that Scholastic Branches books, written at a Gr. 2 reading level, should appeal to Gr.1-3 readers, though they will.  Focus on the hysterical word play, weirdly funny plots, empowered superhero chickens and the laughter that young readers will not be able to contain.

Gordon Blue was an ordinary chicken until he and his younger brother Benny fell into a vat of goopy green toxic sludge at their Uncle Quack's science lab. Now Gordon Blue's birdy senses tingle when there's wrong-doing happening, and he and baby brother transform (with a leotard outfit change) into superhero Kung Pow Chicken and his sidekick Egg Drop!  In Let's Get Cracking, the chickens and their classmates head to the Fowl Fall Festival in their city of Fowladelphia.  When chickens at the Festival start losing their feathers in explosive reactions to cookies they've eaten, and sales of Granny Goosebump's Warm Woolies sweaters skyrocket, Kung Pow Chicken and Egg Drop are on the case. 

I don't know where Cyndi Marko has been before Kung Pow Chicken but I'm going to assume she's young and just getting started in children's books.  Because if Let's Get Cracking is any indication of the breadth of her illustrating skill and quirky funny-bone and word play, it would have been shame to have missed out on her creations.  Luckily, there are multiple volumes of Kung Pow Chicken on the publishing horizon and I intend to purchase them all for my school library.  I suggest other teacher-librarians, public librarians, parents and grandparents consider doing the same to encourage early readers to transition from picture books to novels effortlessly and happily.

Retrieved from on March 8, 2013.

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