Authors: Judy Cox
More chapter books by Judy Cox
Nora and the Texas Terror
That Crazy Eddie and
the Science Project of Doom
Carmen Learns English
Cinco de Mouse-O!
Go to Sleep, Groundhog!
Haunted House, Haunted Mouse
My Family Plays Music
One Is a Feast for Mouse
Holiday House / New York
To my students.
Thanks for all the chicken stories.
Text copyright Â© 2012 by Judy Cox
Illustrations copyright Â© 2012 by Amanda Haley
All Rights Reserved
HOLIDAY HOUSE is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
ISBN 978-0-8234-3080-2 (ebook)w
ISBN 978-0-8234-3081-9 (ebook)r
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
The Secret Chicken Society / by Judy Cox ; illustrated by Amanda Haley, â 1st ed.
Summary: When Daniel's third-grade class raises baby chicks for a class project and he takes the five chickens home for the summer, he is surprised when one of them turns out to be a rooster.
ISBN 978-0-8234-2472-9 (hardcover)
Â [1. ChickensâFiction. 2. RoostersâFiction. 3. Family lifeâFiction.]
I. Haley, Amanda, ill. II. Title.
“Help!” yelled Katrina. “Fuzzy escaped!”
“Not again!” said Mrs. Lopez, the third-grade teacher. She peered into Fuzzy's empty tank and shuddered. She turned to her class and held up her hand. Everyone froze. “No one move,” she ordered, “until we find it.”
Katrina and Sam ignored her. They scrambled up on top of their desks. “I can't stand the thought of it crawling on me,” Katrina said. The other kids stayed still. No one wanted to step on Fuzzy.
Daniel, Harry, and Mrs. Lopez hunted through the room, checking the dark corners where Fuzzy liked to hide.
“Over here!” Harry called. He stood by the
bookcase. He grabbed a book. “Want me to fix it so she doesn't get out again?”
“NO!” yelled Daniel.
“I was only joking!” said Harry. He put the book down but made no move to pick Fuzzy up.
“Daniel, would you mind?” asked Mrs. Lopez. Daniel reached down, scooped up the tarantula, and put her safely back into her tank. He set a rock on top of the wire to hold it down.
Mrs. Lopez breathed a sigh of relief. Katrina and Sam climbed down from their desks. The other kids went back to work. Harry gave Daniel a high five. “That's my man,” he said. “King of the wild!”
Later that day, Mrs. Lopez called her third graders up to the rug.
Daniel pushed his glasses up on his nose. He scrambled out of his seat. He slid into his spot on the rug, like a runner into first base. He liked Mrs. Lopez's meetings. She was the best teacher in the third grade, even if she was scared of spiders. With her long brown hair and blue eyes, Daniel thought she was the prettiest teacher, too.
“Our study of life cycles is almost over,” said Mrs. Lopez. “So I planned a grand finale.”
What could it be?
Daniel wondered. The class had already studied butterflies and caterpillars. A butterfly cage hung in one corner of the room. Three painted ladies crawled up the netting. The class would release them outside on the next sunny day. A tank of tadpoles sat on the counter. Soon they'd be frogs. Mrs. Lopez really liked animals. And so did Daniel.
Mrs. Lopez waited for the buzz of excitement to die down. “I've ordered an incubator and twelve eggs.” She grinned. “We're going to hatch chicks!”
Daniel shot his hand into the air. He waved wildly. He wasn't the only one with questions. Other students waved, too.
“When will the eggs come?” asked Katrina.
“How long do they take to hatch?” called Sam.
“Will we have chickens?” Allison asked.
“Can we eat them?” asked Harry. “I love fried chicken!” Max giggled. Fiona made gagging noises. Sam wrinkled his nose.
“One at a time!” Mrs. Lopez said. “Daniel. You had your hand up. What's your question?”
“What will we do with the chicks?” Daniel had a gerbil named Speedy and a pet rat named Jasper at home, as well as a parakeet named Mr. Feathers. He also had a whole tank of guppies just waiting to be
named. When he grew up, he wanted to be a vet. He sure would like to add a chick to his collection.
“Good question,” said Mrs. Lopez. “We can't start this project until we have good homes for each of the chicks. Of course, we don't know how many eggs will hatch. Usually not every egg does, but we should plan for twelve chicks.”
Daniel pictured twelve fluffy yellow chicks, peep-peep-peeping. He could keep them in his bedroom. He'd make them a nest in his room. They'd be company for his pets.
Mrs. Lopez clapped her hands for quiet. “It takes twenty-one days for the eggs to hatch. We'll raise the chicks for three weeks after that. So here's the deal. If you want to take a chick home at the end of our study, bring two dollars and a note from your parents.”
Daniel frowned. When he brought Jasper home, Mom had put her foot down. “No more animals!” So maybe twelve chicks was pushing it. But surely she wouldn't mind one little fluffy chick? Just one?
The recess bell rang. The kids lined up to go outside. Harry punched Daniel in the arm.
he yelled, flapping his arms. He'd tied his sweatshirt around his neck like a cape. “Look at me! I'm Super Chicken!”
Daniel pulled his hood up over his head. It looked like rain outside. “I'm going to ask my parents if I can have a chick when they hatch.”
Katrina made a face. “Don't count on it. My kindergarten class tried this. But the eggs didn't hatch.”
Max laughed. “Yeah, Daniel. Don't count your chickens before they hatch!”
The kids filed outside to play. Daniel was last. He didn't care what Katrina or Max said. He would get a chick.
He had two dollars left over from his birthday. But could he convince Mom to sign the note?
As soon as the bus doors opened, Daniel jumped out. He lived in a small, normal-looking house between two bigger houses. Mom called them “mini-mansions.” They towered over Daniel's home like castles.
The grass in Daniel's yard always needed mowing. It was always scattered with bikes and skateboards and toys. But the fancy houses had tidy lawns. They had carefully trimmed hedges and neat flower beds with no weeds.
Miss Clay lived in the brown house next to Daniel. She usually worked in the city, but today she was out walking her two miniature poodles, Dot and Dash. Dot was black. Dash was white. Miss Clay followed,
talking on her cell phone, her high heels clicking on the sidewalk.
Daniel waved to her. “Guess what!” he called. “We're going to hatch chicks at school, and I'm going to get one!”
The poodles slipped off their leashes. They charged at Daniel, yipping and barking. Dot jumped up to lick Daniel's face. He pushed the dog away, laughing. Dash put his paws on Daniel's legs.