Review of Hens for Friends, by Sandy De Lisle

Hens for Friends

by Sandy De Lisle
illustrated by Amelia Hansen

The Gryphon Press, Edina, MN, 2015. 28 pages.

I’m dedicating this review to my lifelong friend Kathe, who had to campaign to get her town to allow her backyard chickens, as well as a nod to my sister-in-law Pam and Facebook friend Shannon, who have kept chickens.

This is a simple picture book story about a boy whose family got six chickens from a hen rescue agency.

I love them all, but Margaret is my best hen friend. When I sit on the ground, she jumps into my lap and tucks her head under my arm. When I stroke her back, she makes a funny sound, kind of like a purring cat.

The family almost didn’t get the hens because some people in their city didn’t want chickens there, thinking they’d bring rodents and diseases. The book shows how they take care of the chickens to make sure that doesn’t happen (including more details in a note at the back).

Basically, this book is propaganda for owning chickens! But it’s done as a charming family story. At the end, the family uses two of Margaret’s eggs for our narrator’s little brother’s birthday cake.

When the other hens aren’t looking, I give Margaret a piece of strawberry from Eduardo’s birthday cake. She gobbles it right up. “You’re special, Margaret,” I whisper in her ear. She makes a squawk that sounds just like “You are too.”

Mom’s right: our hens are lucky to have us. But I feel lucky to have them too, especially Margaret.

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Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.

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