by Kelly Jones (debut, middle grade, fantasy)
If I had to choose one word to describe this book, I'd choose "delightful."
In a nutshell (or should I say "in an egg basket"! ha!): Twelve-year-old Sophie and her parents move from LA to a rundown farm they inherited from a great uncle. On the farm, Sophie discovers her great uncle's leftover chickens. But these are not ordinary chickens. These are chickens with super powers. Take Henrietta, for example. She rules the roost. She lays glass eggs and is telekinetic. She's quite moody, and her feathers are often ruffled. Then there's Chameleon who disappears. To avoid spoilers, I won't list the talents of the whole, er, unusual flock. Of course, every book has its bad egg. In Unusual Chickens, it's Ms. Griegson, a local farmer, who wants to steal Sophie's chickens. Sophie must figure out how to outsmart the poultry-napper for good and keep her chickens safe. There are some nice life lessons along the way.
What I Loved (in no particular order): The format. This story is told through letters from Sophie to her grandmother and great uncle (both deceased), letters between Sophie and the mysterious Agnes of the Redwood Farm Supply Company, a correspondence course for looking after chickens, recipes, newspaper articles, amazing line drawings and a quizz (as per the quiz, I would make a very excellent chicken farmer!). Sophie's sunnyside-up, resourceful, plucky attitude. I fell in love with that girl. How the diversity blends into the story and feels realistic. Sophie has brown skin, and her mother is Latino. Sophie is aware they are in the minority in the small town. At one point, they are even mistaken for migrant workers. All the chicken facts. Because there's just something about chickens, right? Lastly, the humor.
Highly recommended. Quit clucking and go get yourself a copy!
In 2012, my little town approved backyard goats, bees and .... chickens! Just saying...
(Dear FCC: Happy New Year! I bought this book.)
And now....onto the rest of our reviews. Please click through. You won't want to miss a single one!
MIDDLE GRADE/YOUNG ADULT FICTION BOOK REVIEWS
Beth Bonini of TRAC: THE WOLF WILDER by Katherine Rundell (MG, historical fantasy)
Stacy Nyikos: ILLUMINAE by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (YA, sci fi)
ADULT FICTION BOOK REVIEWS
Alyssa Goodnight: THE WILD GIRL by Kate Forsyth (historical)
Ellen Booraem: THE DOOR by Magda Szabo (realistic)
Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: LO! JACARANDA by Harry Freiermuth (historical)
Linda McLaughlin: JUST LIKE HEAVEN by Julia Quinn (historical, romance)
Patti Abbott: THE COLD SONG by Linn Ulman (mystery)
Ray Potthoff: DEVIL'S BROOD by Sharon Kay Penman (historical)
Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: THE PLANET FRIENDLY DIET by Cat Smiley (self help)
Sarah Laurence: BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME by Ta-Nehisi Coates (adult)
Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!