Nonfiction – Chickens

Many of us enjoy chicken on our plate, whether fried or roasted or part of the ultimate comfort food, chicken soup. But what about chickens as animals? This book introduced children to chickens before they become part of dinner. What chickens eat, their life cycle, general features, and history are all covered in this book written at a third grade reading level. The text is illustrated with color photographs of chicks, roosters, and hens, and the occasional farmer.

The pictures do not always completely jive with the text. For intance, on one page the text indicates that chickens “need” to have a covered, fenced in run, while the opposite page features a picture of dozens of chickens running around in an obviously non-covered yard, with fencing only just visible in the extreme background. Some pieces of text are misleading as well. In the section on Chicken History, the book states that chickens were first raised in Vietnam, that they were brought to China in 1400 and Greece in 400. The next paragraph says that phoenix chickens were brought to the US and Great Britain in the late 1800’s. While all of this information is true, it makes it sound like Great Britain and the US were chicken-free until this point, rather simply not having that particular breed. The accompanying photograph is of a generic rooster, rather than the historic jungle fowl, or even a phoenix chicken.

That being said, however, the general format of this book is good, and the information is solid and interesting. It will definitely be useful for children doing reports for school, as well.

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