Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Book Review Club (February 2016)

Greetings and welcome to our first Book Review Club meeting of 2016! I gather  we're in for an early spring as per several groundhogs, including Punxsutawney Phil, Shubenacadie Sam, Staten Island Chuck, General Beau Lee. None of these saw his/her shadow yesterday. No matter the season, it's always good to have a book to curl up with. Please scroll down under my review for links to our awesome reviewers. P.S. A little trivia: a group of groundhogs is a repetition.

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!

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)

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!


  1. I'd love goats & chickens! Unhappily, hubby can't eat eggs! Great review! Thanks for hosting!

  2. Sounds like a cracking story! Thanks for hosting, Barrie, and for starting my day with word play.

  3. This does sound like a fun read. I love the idea of chickens with super powers!

  4. Jenn, you could sell the eggs and become a rich poultry farmer! The chickens would be your cash cow! Ha, ha!

  5. Sarah, glad you enjoyed the word play. I giggled my way through this post. Even today, I can't stop thinking of chicken idioms!

  6. Linda, I know, right? Chickens plus super powers?! You can't go wrong with that combo!

  7. Barrie, you always have a charming sense of humour -- but this review really tickled me. I wouldn't necessarily be attracted to a MG book about chickens, but you've made me a believer!

  8. Oooh, this sounds like a good one! I don't know if you've read the Mo LoBeau mysteries by Sheila Turnage, but your description reminds me vaguely of those books, which my 14YO and I love!

    Thank you, and thanks for hosting!


  9. Alyssa, I do not know those mysteries, but will check them out immediately!!

  10. Well my urban grandchildren in Arizona are raising chickens for 4H projects. I wonder....;)

  11. Sounds like a fun book. Thanks for the recommendation. :)

  12. Oh, this sounds like a must-read for me. I'm a sucker for humorous fantasy, and the format sounds amazing. Thanks for finding it, Barrie!

  13. Trout birder: Hmmm.....they have some unusual chickens in the flock.... :)

    Lucky: it really was a fun and well written book.

    Elen: this is so a must-read for you! :)

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Comments are always welcome!