The illustration on the cover shows a chicken with Crystal's head.
Everyone in Goshen Falls knows about weird Vanessa. She dresses all in black. Wears black lipstick. And puts spells on people. At least, that's what they say. Crystal and her brother, Cole, know you can't believe everything you hear. But that was before they made Vanessa mad. Before she whispered that strange warning, "Chicken chicken." Because now something really weird has happened. Crystal's lips have turned as hard as a bird's beak. And Cole has started growing ugly white feathers all over his body...
Crystal and her brother, Cole, live on a farm with their parents in the small town of Goshen Falls. Crystal reveals that her parents are computer programmers, but they live on a farm and own chickens, which Crystal dislikes.
One day, Crystal loses track of her brother. Crystal begins searching for Cole around town. She finds him near the edge of Vanessa's property. Vanessa is a woman who wears all black and lives alone with her cat, leading many of the local residents to believe that she is a witch. Cole is hiding behind a bush with a few of with his friends. Two of his friends, Franny and Jeremy, are holding pitchers of liquid; they have been dared to pour the liquid in Vanessa's mailbox. As soon as the kids begin pouring the liquid, Vanessa storms out of her house. Franny and Jeremy run away, and — while Crystal and Cole weren't the ones who wanted to vandalize the mailbox — Vanessa furiously approaches them. Scared, the siblings run home and one of Cole's friends, Anthony, runs with them. At home, Crystal slams her hand in the fridge, and Anthony jokes that Vanessa has put a curse on Crystal. That night, while she is resting in her room, Crystal sees a shadow of a cat on her wall; when she goes to sleep, Crystal dreams of frightening cats.
The next day after school, Crystal, Cole, and Anthony are walking around town. Cole and Anthony are tossing an egg. Crystal tries to stop them, and all three kids bump into Vanessa, who drops all of the groceries she was carrying. Anthony apologizes before he runs away; Vanessa points at Crystal and says, "Chicken chicken." The siblings quickly return home.
At chorus practice the following day, Cole tries to sing a solo, but he accidentally starts clucking. Later that day, Cole explains to Crystal that he wasn't trying to cluck, but he couldn't stop. Crystal doesn't believe Cole's story. Later, Crystal goes to her friend's house to celebrate her friend's birthday party. While singing a birthday song, Crystal hears herself clucking. When Crystal tries to eat some cake, her lips feel firm; she runs to the bathroom, and her lips look bumpy and hard like a beak. Crystal sneaks away from the party and runs home. Crystal's parents aren't home, but Cole is. Cole reveals that he has started growing feathers. Crystal help Cole pull off the feathers.
The next morning, Crystal sees that she's started growing feathers as well. Cole's feathers have grown back, and his hands look like they're turning into claws. The two kids immediately deduce that Vanessa cursed them. The siblings try to get help from their mother, but she is too busy preparing for the upcoming barbecue, which will be hosted at their home. Crystal and Cole decide to look for Anthony because they assume he is also transforming. While looking for Anthony, the siblings see Vanessa, and she mocks Crystal and Cole. When the kids find Anthony, they learn that he isn't transforming. The siblings return home, and their parents are still preparing for the barbecue, which Crystal helps with. Crystal and her mother see Cole eating chicken feed outside. Crystal initially goes to stop him, but instead changes her mind and starts eating chicken feed as well. The guests of the barbecue assume that this is a joke. Throughout the barbecue, Crystal and Cole refuse to eat any chicken.
The following day, Crystal has a basketball game to play in. Crystal realizes that she can't run without bobbing her head. She begins moving her arms like chicken wings. The referee calls a timeout, and Crystal runs away.
Eventually, Crystal and Cole decide that they must confront Vanessa. The kids enter her house, but Vanessa doesn't seem to be home. The kids begin looking through Vanessa's spell books. The kids find a book called Chicken Chicken Chicken, which they take before leaving; at home, the siblings discover that the book is a cookbook. The kids rush back to Vanessa's house and continue looking for a useful spell book. The kids find the spell for turning humans into chickens, and they try to perform the spell in reverse. This causes the kids to turn into giant chickens. The kids try the spell again, but they turn themselves into tiny chicks.
Vanessa's cat attacks Crystal, but the cat leaves when Vanessa appears. Vanessa contemplates what to do with the chicks. Unable to talk, Crystal climbs onto Vanessa's typewriter and types out an apology and asks politely to be turned back into a human. Vanessa initially declines before explaining that she cursed Crystal and Cole because they didn't apologize for bumping into her that day in front of the grocery; Crystal then realizes that Anthony wasn't turned into a chicken like they were because he apologized before he ran away, and she wishes she and Cole had apologized then, as they “wouldn’t be peeping little chicks” right now. Vanessa then adds that she cares deeply about manners. Crystal types out a message that thanks Vanessa for explaining; Vanessa is impressed by the humble letter, and agrees to help.
With that, Vanessa changes Crystal and Cole back into humans; the three of them then have a good laugh. Vanessa gives the siblings some soda, which they thank her for. When Cole finishes his soda, he lowers his glass, only to let out a loud burp, and both kids laugh. This infuriates Vanessa, causing her to point at them and cast another spell: “Pig pig.”
Reprints and rereleases
2003 - 2007 reprint series
- The cover art is no longer mirrored.
|No.||Book||Country/Language||Translated title||Release date|| |
|Chicken Chicken||April 17, 1998||Scholastic|
Los labios de crystal
|Crystal Lips||October 2, 1998||Ediciones B|
Prigionieri di un incantesimo
|Prisoners of a Spell||March 1999||Mondadori|
|Chicken Magic||May 1, 1999||Omnibus Verlag|
|Vanessa's Curse||2000||B Wahlströms||Vanessa's Curse|
The original printing of this book included metallic sticker tear-outs. The first sticker features artwork from the cover, while the second sticker features artwork from Monster Edition #2. In addition, #52 How I Learned to Fly included a tear-out trading card for #53.
- Stine joked that the plot of this book was "stolen" from Stephen King's novel Thinner.
- While printing the first editions of this book, Scholastic flipped Tim Jacobus' cover illustration, mirroring the artwork. This is evident because Jacobus's signature appears backwards on the cover. For the 2007 reprint, the artwork was restored to its original orientation.
- Troy Steele from Blogger Beware said that this was the worst Goosebumps book. When he made a list of the top ten worst Goosebumps books, he rated it as #00, saying it didn't deserve a number.
- This is the second book in which the cover shows an animal with a human head, the first being Why I'm Afraid of Bees.
- The tagline, "It's a finger lickin' nightmare", is a reference to the Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan "It's finger lickin' good".
- This book references 4-H clubs, "Beautiful Ohio", and Honda.