I don’t know why, but ever since I watched Chicken People, the documentary about people who breed and show chickens, I’ve found chickens to be somewhat engaging.
And after reading this book, I find them fascinating, too. Did you know they can count up to four? Cats can only count up to three. (oh, the humiliation!!) And, apparently chickens can be trained to do fitness tests, bowl, and even play the piano. Clearly, their skills are underestimated by people like me.
This book includes so many other fascinating facts presented in engaging ways, like descriptions of gorgeous breeds with wild crests, whiskers, and beards; the amazing range of sizes (yes, the Jersey Giant is the height of a three-year-old child!!); how they’re related to dinosaurs; and some larger-than-life images of disgusting parasites that can plague our feathered friends (but you can skip that spread if you’re squeamish).
There is also practical advice about raising chickens as pets and garden “allies.” Just look at this table of contents! It’s a cornucopia of all things chicken.
Who wants to learn about the rooster’s chicken dance?
Or about chicken eggs vs. eggs from other creatures.
On the foodie side, the author presents a plate of eggs—poached, soft-boiled, scrambled, etc.—then offers an estimate for the amount of time each takes to prepare, followed by a world map showing foods made with eggs. I’d really like to try Vietnamese Egg Coffee!
And let’s not forget the age old question: Can chickens fly? “Houston, we have a problem….”
My word! Teachers will have a field day with this book! Many kids will initially dip a toe in and then find themselves wanting to read it cover to cover. Loaded with humor (and puns, of course), there are even some jokes for adults, including a scene reminiscent of Forest Gump. The author and illustrator acknowledgements are also rather tongue-in-cheek. Or should I say tongue-in-beak? Bravo! And of course, if you’re into swine, there’s a companion book called Pigology….
Make an origami rooster.
Learn how to draw a chicken.
Older kids who are reading novels will also enjoy How to Speak Chicken by Melissa Caughey.
Title: Chickenology: The Ultimate Chicken Encyclopedia
Author: Barbara Sandri + Francesco Giubbilini
Illustrator: Camille Pintonato
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press, 2021
Ages: Elementary School +
Themes: chicken anatomy, behavior, and natural history
For more perfect picture book recommendations, please visit Susanna Hill’s website.