Charlie Changes Into A Chicken – by Sam Copeland and Sarah Horne


What a debut! Sam Copeland has nailed it with the funniest book I’ve read in a long time. I shamelessly snort laughed while reading it amongst a throng of adults on the tube. But it’s like Maurice Sendak said… “I don’t write for children, I write, and someone says it’s for children.” Well I just don’t see how big people could resist this book too. It’s lines like this that tickle your funny bone…

“… as Charlie soared through the air, swinging on his butt-rope…”

Or the Pepe le Pew style French pigeon love triangle…

“Monsieur, you are not the emperor of this exquisite pigeon’s heart, for it is I, Antoine the pigeon, pecker of crumbs…”

I don’t want to spoil some of the big funny-bone moments. Let’s just say there are poos aplenty without this ever wallowing into the depths of toilet humour. In fact, Sam very sensitively tackles the storyline of Charlie’s sick brother who’s in hospital waiting for some big scary scan results. It’s this worry that kicks off the whole animal changing debacle. Charlie’s stress is turning him into a menagerie of beasts – one time a spider, another time a rhino. You get the drift. But uh oh, the school play’s looming and Charlie’s in danger of ripping into beast mode onstage. And his crafty nemesis is egging the whole process on.

There are funny footnotes – yes footnotes – and a series of reader letters woven into the story. It’s no wonder that Puffin snapped this up, with Charlie Changes into a T-Rex the next in the series. Review coming soon!

No young fiction’s complete without cracking illustrations. Sarah Horne’s no stranger to illustrating funny – she’s been bringing side-splitting stories to life for zonks. And you can see, she’s had an absolute ball working on this. Her illustrations are inclusive, bursting with energy and utterly bonkers. (I’d love to have seen her face the moment she decided to illustrate page 219).

I really believe that funny fiction’s for everyone, so go get this book, and enjoy reading it aloud with your students, kids or grandkids.


Charlie Copeland
Sarah Horne

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