Most of us think chickens are pretty straightforward. They peck, they roost, they taste delicious with carrots and potatoes, and we have no qualms about stealing their equally delicious eggs. But Hilary Archer sheds new light on the secret lives of chickens, a complex and sophisticated society teeming with rich culture and depth of tradition. In this enlightening work, we learn of the domestic chicken, the chicken club, the organic chicken, and the elusive battered chicken. Find out what’s really going on in the hen house after hours. Or maybe you shouldn’t- you’ll never look at your chicken pot pie the same way again.
Domestic Chicken and Other Feathery Tales is available for free on iBooks.
This story is right up my alley. I have a deep history with chickens, and as soon as I saw the title of this story, I knew that I would love it. It’s written in verse, but it’s good verse, not cumbersome or unnatural. It’s a great example of verse that makes a story more amusing and musical and fun, not awkward and stilted. I love the puns, I love the whole concept of revealing the secret world of chickens. To be completely honest, however, my kids did not warm to this story as I hoped they would. They really liked the pictures of the domestic chicken with the apron on, the fancy chickens at the club being all snooty, and especially the fried chicken all sunburned at the beach. But there are just too many words and too few pictures for kids my age to get into it. And they didn’t get the jokes about the hippy organic chicken or the cowboy free range chicken or the boxer battered chicken. I can’t quite tell if it would be a big hit with a 10 or 12 year old, or if it’s just story that’s a little old for the little kids and a little young for the big kids. One thing is certain, I liked it, and I’ll probably read it again, by myself, maybe under my bed covers with a flashlight, giggling.
Hilary Archer has a website mostly about her illustrations.