The illustration on the cover shows a chicken with Crystal's head.
Crystal Sanders and her younger brother, Cole, live on a farm in a small town by the name of Goshen Falls. Their parents have always wanted chickens in their farm and Cole and Crystal are forced to take care of the chickens turn by turn. In this small town, there lives a weird woman named Vanessa always dresses in black and, despite her young appearance, is actually a spinster. According to Crystal, Vanessa is said to have magic powers and has used them on children whoever pulled pranks on her. Although, this does not stop Cole daring two of their classmates to pour water in Vanessa's mailbox as a prank, but not before Cole's friend, Anthony told them how Vanessa caught a boy named Tommy "Thomas" Pottridge and made his head swell up. Their classmates manage to succeed in their dare, but then Vanessa suddenly bursts out and they run away.
Later that night, Crystal sees Vanessa entering her room but finds out that Cole is actually playing a prank on her. The next morning, while Crystal is having breakfast, Cole comes down with what appears to be ugly red blotches on his face, which turns out to be a red marker pen, angering his older sister sister.
The next day, Crystal has to go to the market to buy her best friend, Lucy-Ann, a CD for her upcoming birthday. While in town, Cole and Anthony follow Crystal around, tossing an egg between themselves. Eventually, the egg lands on Anthony's head and the three begin fighting until they knock over Vanessa as she is exiting the grocery store. She falls and her grocery bags rip open — spilling her purchases everywhere. Anthony runs off scared, apologizing profusely. Crystal and Cole stay as Vanessa angrily looks at them and whispers, "Chicken, chicken..." repeatedly. Terrified, Crystal and Cole run away in fear.
Back at the house, Crystal says to Cole that they should have stayed and helped Vanessa, but Cole declines by saying that she is evil and wanted to destroy them. Crystal thinks that now something bad is going to happen, but Cole brushes it off.
The next day, the siblings are attending a chorus rehearsal, in which Cole inadvertently starts clucking in, therefore ruining the rehearsal and Crystal started berating Cole about being a total pain.
The next day, Crystal attends her friend, Lucy-Ann's birthday party and during cake time, she finds that her lips have hardened into a bird beak! Crystal runs home and finds Cole with feathers growing out of his neck. They pluck the feathers off and try to stay up to tell their parents but end up falling asleep. The next morning, Crystal woke up to find feathers all over her and after she plucked them off, she and Cole try to explain to their parents what is happening, but they are too busy to listen. What's worse, Crystal and Cole soon become afraid of the fact that their parents are serving chicken at a barbecue they are throwing for the neighbors. Crystal and Cole visit Anthony, thinking that he may be cursed too since he was there when the trio bumped into Vanessa. Anthony tells Crystal and Cole that nothing has happened to him after the incident, except for the fact that Anthony is now an exceptionally good golfer. During the barbecue, Crystal and Cole soon find themselves in the yard, clucking and interacting with the chickens, making them the laughingstock of the town.
Crystal's and Cole's ongoing transformation continues to ruin their lives, especially Crystal's. Her chances at playing on the school basketball team are dashed, after making a fool of herself by acting like a chicken, tripping because her legs were becoming hard to bend, and suddenly growing feathers on her legs. After the basketball game, Crystal's and Cole's hideous mutation into chickens worsens, as their eyes move to the side of their heads, their teeth sink into their gums, their fingers become bony like claws, their legs stiffen, and their feet turn to talons. After their parents have gone out for a meeting, the two decide that the only way to break the spell is to apologize to Vanessa in person. They break into her house, after seeing that Vanessa is not home. Crystal sees a book called, Chicken Chicken Chicken, and swipes it. The two safely return home only to find out that they have stolen a cookbook. They return to the house and find a real spell book, but the spells only succeed in turning Crystal and Cole into 20-foot tall chickens and finally baby chicks. Crystal is almost eaten by Vanessa's cat, but the cat spits her out and plays around with her like a ball of yarn.
Vanessa finally comes home and sweeps the two chicks up in her hand. She asks them, if they like the lesson she has taught them. She points to her bookshelf full of books on manners, explaining how she has dedicated her life to etiquette and uses her magic to punish those who do not show it (which explains why Anthony was never cursed—he apologized to Vanessa as he ran away while Crystal and Cole did not). Crystal the baby chick leaps out of Vanessa's palm and lands on a typewriter and types out an apology. That does little to sway Vanessa, so she then types out a thank-you note to Vanessa for teaching them the error of their ways. Vanessa is so hysterically happy over the gesture that she uses her magic to revert Crystal and Cole into humans. She offers them soda, as they are probably parched from everything that's happened. Cole drinks his soda and belches. Crystal and Cole laugh, but Vanessa stares stone-faced at them and whispers, "Pig pig."
Cover Art Gallery
- While printing the first editions of this book, Scholastic flipped Tim Jacobus' cover illustration, causing the art to be mirrored. This is evidenced by Jacobus' signature appearing backwards on the cover; his signature can be found to the left of the chicken's foot. On the 2007 reprint, the artwork is restored to its original orientation.
- Troy Steele from Blogger Beware said that this was the worst Goosebumps book and when he made a list of the top ten worst Goosebumps books he said that this book was so bad it didn't even deserve a number. He rated it as #00.
- This is the second book in which the cover showed an animal with a human head, the first being Why I'm Afraid of Bees.