New York: Beach Lane Books, 2015

With the popularity of backyard chickens, being followed home by one is not out of the question.  In fact, the author’s inspiration for this book came from her neighbor’s experience of being adopted by a stray chicken. If it happens to you, be sure to pick upA Chicken Followed Me Home!, so you will know what to expect. In this primer on backyard chicken care, each section is set out with a question like “what do chickens eat?” and “what does a chicken coop look like?” or “will my chicken lay eggs?” and other stuff you never thought you’d want to know about chickens.  Interested in hatching chicks? That’s covered, too.

The bright digital illustrations have a collage look about them, with wonderful textures that mimic feathers. The chicken Q & A format neatly organizes the content and it makes sense that the narrator, given the unexpected new chicken, has a lot of questions. Through the narrative, we learn that our chicken is a Rhode Island Red hen who will lay eggs (5-6 per week!), and hatch chicks, if introduced to a rooster. It is all subtly funny, and we end up with a flock of chickens, who, we hope, will be following someone else home soon. End pages answer more chicken questions and suggest resources to learn more.

A Chicken Followed Me Home! would make a charming addition to any picture book collection, not to mention inspiration for some industrious student’s (and brave parent’s) summer-vacation-and-beyond chicken project. Cluck Cluck.

Dewey: 636.5                                                              Interest Level: PreK-2

Reviews & Awards: Booklist, Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Horn Book Guide, Horn Book Magazine, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly Starred, School Library Journal Starred, Science Books and Films (AAAS).

Older elementary students might like: Henrietta’s Guide to Caring for Your Chickens by Isabel Thomas.

Middle school/young adult students might like: Urban Gardening and Farming for Teens series from Rosen Publishing, various authors.

Published for Adult, but appropriate for young adults: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.

Fiction Pairing: Interrupting Chicken by David Erza.

On the Web:

The Old Farmer’s Almanac has gone digital! It still has all the great information you expect from this staple publication, from last frost to moon phases, and it also has a chicken section.