“There’s a point in the summer when things slow down…The whole town seems to go slower, one day runs into the next, lots of people go away on vacation, and the streets are kind of empty. It feels like summer is going to go on forever…”
Nick Itch, his friends Loretta Fischetti and Bruno Ugg, and Nick’s six foot chicken Henrietta are stuck in Hoboken for the summer with nothing to do. However, things begin to turn around for the group when they visit Tesev Noskecnil Park and discover a beautifully done sidewalk chalk drawing of Henrietta. Intrigued by the mysterious drawing, and the ones that follow it, Nick, Loretta, and Bruno decide to take up art for themselves.
The children’s knowledge and appreciation of art expands after encounters with art supply dealer Davis Davisdavis (“I am a specialist! I am not some clerk-I am a purveyor of the finest materials. If you disagree with my choices, you do not belong here.”), painter Hilangully Ryder (“El Greco specialized in lollapaloozas…Look what he did with those cardinal’s robes…By the way, that’s a nice chicken.”), and failed art student Meehan the Bum (“I would have graduated, but the Democrats had me thrown out for uttering insane remarks during lectures.”).
Eventually, the children get to know the artist who created the sidewalk drawings. It is none other that the famous screever Lucy Casserole. Lucy agrees to give them art lessons and shows them how to be more observant of the world around them. Not only do the kids learn to see the world differently, they also see classical art in a whole new way.
Naming themselves the Artsy Smartsy Club, the trio signs up to compete in the First Annual Hoboken Street Art Festival. First place for the sidewalk drawing event will go to the last person anyone expects!
So if you have a passion for Van Gogh paintings (“It’s not Gog…It’s Gok, or more like Gockgh-like you’re trying to clear your throat…”), finger-wiggling (“I sort of like the finger wiggling,”), and 266 pound chickens sneaking in art museums dressed as nuns (“Do you suppose it’s against the law to impersonate a nun?”), then you will enjoy The Artsy Smartsy Club by Daniel Pinkwater, the author of many books including The Hoboken Chicken Emergency and Looking for Bobowicz.