Since I am a certified chicken geek, here are two more reviews of picture books featuring hens who have adventures.
Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken by Kate DiCamillo and Harry Bliss
Louise was bored with life in the chicken coop. She went to sea and was saved from becoming dinner for pirates by a storm. After seven days at sea Louise returned home, but not for long. She became a high wire act in a circus until a close call with a lion made her miss the safety of the henhouse. Louise decided to visit a faraway bazaar for her next trip. When a fortune-teller said a dark stranger was in her future, Louise didn’t know that meant the stranger would kidnap and imprison her with a bunch of other chickens. She picked the lock and freed the hens, who made her miss her home. Her flock mates asked where she had been, and Louise told them of her travels.
While I found the main character appealing if not fully developed, the plot elements stretched my credulity. Maybe the supporting characters will have larger roles in future installments.
Daisy Come Home by Jan Brett
Like Louise, Daisy longed for adventure. As the smallest hen in Mei Mei’s flock, Daisy was picked and pecked by the other chickens. One dark and rainy night, Daisy decided she had had enough and went outside to find a place to sleep away from the flock. She didn’t realize the market basket she used for her nest would float away down the river. Along her journey Daisy encountered a dangerous dog, a wallowing water buffalo, monkeys, and a fisherman who thought he would sell Daisy at market along with his fish. When Mei Mei went to market to sell eggs, a friend told her that a fisherman had a basket from her farm. No spoiler alert needed; you’ll have to read the book to learn the outcome.
Daisy’s story is more realistic than Louise’s, both in its plot and illustrations. The relationship between Mei Mei and Daisy adds depth to the characterizations. The setting of Daisy Come Home is more limited than the broader scope of Louise’s exploits, but I particularly enjoy its local color. Both reviewed titles offer a similar perspective; a weltanschauung from a chicken-eye view. I recommend both stories for fans of chick lit.