Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer


                                  

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Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer
by Kelly Jones, illustrated by Katie Kath
Alfred A. Knopf, 2015. 216 pgs.  Fantasy

     Sophie Brown and her family have moved to her Great-Uncle Jim's farm because her father has lost his job and her mother is trying to support the family on what she makes as a freelance writer. Sophie's dad doesn't have much time to spend with her because he is looking for work and trying to figure out how to run a neglected farm from a broken down house. Sophie's mom is busy writing articles about how to "Decorate for Fall with Farm Tools." So Sophie has time and room to explore, and, in the process to meet a little white chicken whom she names Henrietta after the chicken in Daniel Pinkwater's The Hoboken Chicken Emergency.  Sophie doesn't know much about raising chickens, especially a chicken like Henrietta who seems to have telekinetic powers. As Sophie tries to find all of Uncle Jim's scattered flock of "exceptional poultry," she seeks advice by letters from Agnes of Redwood Farm Supply; her beloved abuelita Garcia-Gonzalez, who is dead; Uncle Jim, who is dead, all the while trying to outwit and outmaneuver the chicken-thieving Ms. Griegson, who is not dead. Pictures and text of this charming book will have youngsters (and their elders) laughing out loud and cheering Sophie and her family on against weird and trying odds.  Unusual Chickens . . . should clearly be in the running for the Newbery Award, but it might be too much fun to win.

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