Author: Daniel Pinkwater
Publisher: HarperCollins (2004)
A sequel of sorts to The Hoboken Chicken Emergency. It makes a perfectly good story even if you haven't read Chicken Emergency, and is (in my opinion) a better book. They are both short chapter books (Bobowicz is about 200 pages), and both illustrated by Jill Pinkwater.
The Story (No spoilers)
Ivan Itch (call him Nick) isn't happy about his family moving to Hoboken -- and even less so when his bike is stolen on their first day in town. But things start getting better quickly. While he's cleaning out the basement he meets some interesting new friends, who show him around town and who will help him try to find his bicycle.
As with any Pinkwater book, many strange and interesting things are discovered; a pirate radio station, a crazy librarian, a stuffed fruit bat. But the most interesting of them all is an old scrapbook filled with clippings about a giant chicken who once ran amok in the city.
The kids learn all about the giant chicken, but two things are missing: the dates have been clipped from all of the newspaper articles, and Bobowicz, the boy who owned the giant chicken, seems to have disappeared. When they ask the people living in their neighborhood about it, everyone turns D and D -- deaf and dumb.
There is also a story about a mysterious phantom that goes around stealing things (like bikes), and leaving things (like tuna sandwiches). Could it have been the phantom that stole Nick's bike? Hard to say; whenever anyone, even the police, are asked about the phantom, they go D and D.
Nick and his friends go on an adventure to find a bike and a giant chicken. Along the way they discover that Reading Is Fun, and that Hoboken Isn't That Bad A Place To Live.
Despite the giant chicken (and it is giant, about 6 feet tall), this isn't one of Pinkwater's crazy Borgle type books -- no aliens, giant singing popcicles, or evil avocados. Just a big chicken.
Good book. Especially if you're a Pinkwater fan. It's not one of his best, but it's far from boring, and the characters are very Pinkwaterian. It has a number of references to Chicken Emergency, so it may be worth reading that one first, but it's not necessary.