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My Fine Feathered Friend Hardcover – March 25, 2002

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The arrival of a particularly cheeky chicken in his Queens neighborhood gives New York Times food critic Grimes the impetus for this entertaining little book about the unusual visitor and all things fowl. The bird touches down in Grimes's backyard without warning, and the reaction of the animal-loving author and his wife turns from surprise to delight when the chicken makes a home among their family of cats, staking out its own patch of turf in their backyard and brazenly taking its place in the "cafeteria line" for cat food. Grimes deftly sprinkles historical background and anecdotes about chickens into his chronicle of the bird's behavior and the reaction of neighbors and colleagues. He muses on the small adjustments he made in his own lifestyle to accommodate the chicken as a pet, and offers subtle, compelling observations about the ancient relationships between animals and humans, which have their place even in the city. The bird's moment of fame is short-lived it vanishes as mysteriously as it came only a few days after Grimes begins writing about the chicken in his column. The moment is a sad one for Grimes and his wife, but the chicken's short hiatus in Queens will be a boon for readers who chuckle their way through this well-told tale, proving once again that a good writer can make a meaningful story out of anything.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

As restaurant critic for the New York Times, Grimes knew something about chickens: "deep-fried, fricasseed, poached, boiled, broiled, jerked Jamaican, and coated in a luscious Albufera sauce." But when a large black hen appeared one winter day in his Queens backyard and happily settled down at the foot of a pine tree, Grimes and his wife were stymied. Where did it come from? Did it escape from the Bangladeshi neighbors' soup pot or from the live poultry market a few blocks away? In this charming if slight expansion of his Times article, Grimes recounts his growing fascination with the Chicken (as he came to call it) as it took over the yard, scratching for food and bullying the resident cats. He studied up on poultry lore and, when the Chicken started laying eggs, conducted comparison taste tests between his eggs and commercial organic products. (The Chicken won hands down.) Tragically, a few days after the Times story appeared, the Chicken disappeared as mysteriously as it had arrived. Was it a victim of fowl play? Did evil walk the streets of Astoria? An amusing trifle; for larger collections. (Illustrations not seen.) Wilda Williams, "Library Journal"
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: North Point Press; 1st edition (March 25, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865476322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865476325
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,517,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Who knew chickens could be so interesting and funny? When New York Times restaurant critic William Grimes finds a chicken in his New York City backyard, he learns how much surprising personality a chicken can possess. In this hilarious true story, Grimes chronicles how the chicken grew in his esteem from mere baffling presence to a source of constant entertainment. The chicken (simply referred to as The Chicken) co-exists with a cadre of Mafioso-like neighborhood cats, mercilessly making a sport of teasing the most anxious of the felines. The chicken embarks on a surprising and sometimes disquieting diet (chowing down on everything but the lawn furniture) and even survives assault by police helicopter. In between anecdotes, Grimes recounts fun fowl facts and a brief history of chicken breeding. Does this part sound boring? I would have thought so, too. In Grimes' deft hands, the tale is fascinating. (You'll learn why chicken breeding was actually a hot trend amongst the Glitterati as recently as 1944 and why some poor chickens were bred to have tail feathers over 15 feet long.) Grimes also has a delicious sense of humor that delivers chuckles and cackles with every page. Delightful illustrations, too. Engrossing us with a mere 85 pages, Grimes definitely subscribes to the "leave 'em wanting more" school. The book is a terrific, quick read for all -- from small-fry to the hard-boiled -- and would be a wonderful gift for anyone in need of good cheer.
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Format: Hardcover
Either way, you can't go wrong with this book.
It's both and amusing and informative short read. I read sections to my wife each evening in bed and we chuckled our way to the books conclusion.
We're thinking of building a chicken coop soon, and the parts of this book where the author digresses from the main story line are very informative about chickens. For example, when chickens first were thought of as a food product.
I'd recommend it for anyone looking for a light read...
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Format: Hardcover
This was (supposed to be) an enjoyable, light read about a chicken that took up residence in the authors backyard for a season. At least it was until the last few pages where it upsets me very much.

The author lost me towards the end of his story when he somehow felt the stupid need to betray his "feathered friend" by writing to newspapers about his backyard guest, thus calling attention from the entire city to the harmless Chicken.

Then he actually wonders why his beloved Chicken mysteriously vanishes from his yard soon afterwards.

In my view, this wasn't a book about friendship and love for a wild animal, but the greed of human beings to make a buck anyway they see fit---even at the expense of a beautiful creature that he misleadingly called his "friend". He says he "loves" the Chicken, yet why in the world write to newspapers telling everyone about it living out in the open in his backyard? In New York City? Nobody is that naive not to expect the Chicken to become in danger from people after that.

Had the author not sold-out his Chicken for a few bucks, I believe he would still be clucking away in his backyard enjoying his life....And not the horrible thoughts that entered my mind of what most likely happened to him. Only then would this have been a great story.

As it stands, it's a very good story about the greed & betrayal of human beings at the expense of a beautiful and helpless chicken.
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A Kid's Review on March 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I love this story about Chicken and the funny cats living together in the backyard of a big city. I laughed a lot and really enjoyed learning about chickens and eggs. Mr. Grimes is a nice man who loves animals, and is a great storyteller.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I chose to read this because, I wanted to learn about more about chickens. While I learned a few interesting facts, I almost stopped reading. I probably would've if this wasn't so short.

Despite how much I dislike this book, there are three things that kept me reading. The first thing is it's short length. The second thing is even though they didn't know much about chickens, they attempted to learn about them. If an animal might live with you for several years, shouldn't you educate yourself? However, many people just buy something and don't even bother to learn about it. The third thing is when the chicken runs away. Don't me wrong. While I was sad, I'm also glad that they didn't funnel money into a project that might be futile.

As soon as I began reading, William Grimes's already complaining about where he lives. He didn't paint Astoria in a rather pleasant light, but if you can afford expensive meals somewhere, you need to learn about gratitude. The only reason I minded the judge mentality because, that wasn't my original reason for reading this.

As soon as I read what the chicken was named, I knew that I wouldn't enjoy this. It didn't help that some of the strays had dumb names. Of course, some of the names were cool. I know that animals can only comprehend us to a certain point, but that doesn't mean you can't put into actual thought into naming them.

Williams Grimes was comparing his chicken to the breed standard. Aside from her eyes and feather color, she would be eligible for the show ring. However, no desire is expressed as he says ,"Show chickens have to pose, and I had no intention of schooling my high-spirited, willful chicken in the arts of seduction." (pg.
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