Charlie Changes Into a Chicken – Sam Copeland, illustrated by Sarah Horne

I’m in real awe of anyone who can write funny fiction. Funny is so difficult to write, at the best I might be able to conjure up a mildly humorous joke in my writing but never any full on laugh-out-loud moments. So it’s rare to discover a writer, especially a debut one who has a real knack for comedy. But Sam Copeland’s debut, ‘Charlie Changes Into a Chicken,’ is one of those books that will genuinely make you laugh-out-loud, cringe with embarrassment and tell all your friends about. Meet Charlie McGuffin ( I can barely type this name without sniggering) an eternal optimist who is determined to see the best in everything. Unfortunately for Charlie his life is rapidly becoming a half-empty scenario rather than a half-full version. His brother is really ill in hospital, his parents are incredibly anxious and just when you thing things can’t get worse, the school bully sets his sights on Charlie. For the first time in his life Charlie is totally stressed out and doesn’t know how to cope. Panic sets in which disastrously leads him to discover that he has a hidden power that is bound to get him into a whole heap of trouble, including much unwanted attention from the bully. With the help of his three best friends can Charlie learn to deal with his power before the truth is exposed?

I had such high expectations of this book having seen rave reviews across social media, so I’m pleased to confirm that these glowing praises are hugely justified. Sam deftly mixes humour and heart in a story that deals with some really tough issues in an accessible way, helping children to gain an empathetic insight into the lives of others. At a time when children’s mental health seems increasingly fragile, I think readers need to see themselves in books and understand other’s experiences. Charlie’s life feels out of control and exceptionally difficult so it should be quite bleak, instead it’s a riotous mix of chaos and carnage that will leave you with a huge smile on your face. Sarah Horne’s lively and hilarious illustrations magnificently portray the variety of Charlie’s emotions as he struggles to come to terms with his new powers. My favourite illustration (above) had to be Charlie appearing rather unexpectedly in the girl’s toilets, this whole scene is pure comedy genius. Brilliantly observant with laughter aplenty, this series is bound to become a fast favourite with lovers of funny tales.

Thank you to Sophia and Puffin for sending me a gifted proof copy in exchange for a honest review. ‘Charlie Changes Into A Chicken,’ is available to buy now online or from any good bookshop.

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