Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Big City, Small Chickens – BOOK REVIEW: City Chickens by Christine Heppermann


Big City, Small Chickens – BOOK REVIEW: City Chickens by Christine Heppermann
Please note: This book review is cross posted at Caffeinated While Reading.

Title: City Chickens
Author: Christine Heppermann
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Year published: 2012
ISBN: 978-0-547-51830-5
Genre: non-fiction; children’s literature; agriculture; lifestyle


Cluck, cluck, cluck!!!! That’s the sound of the lady chickens in that urban backyard you just walked past.
Wait, what? Chickens in the city?

YES! Urban chickens and urban homesteading are becoming more and more common, but that doesn’t mean life is always clucks and feathers for chickens. City Chickens by Christine Heppermann is all about the plight of many chickens in urban areas, but more specifically in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She traces the story of a husband and wife in the city who have devoted their lives to rescuing chickens (among other animals) and finding them new homes.

The book is part biography, part fun and informative story, and part social awareness. 

This is a great, but very honest and real, look at what happens to many chickens and how their lives are improved by kind rescuers. I highly encourage you to read this book with your kids or in your classroom, but be forewarned that there are a couple of disturbing photos of chickens who have been used in cockfighting and who are kept in chicken cages. These disturbing situations are described as well, but not in too much detail, in order to bring awareness to how chickens are abused and how they should be treated instead. The book is mostly about how great chickens are and how fun they can be to keep and care for when rescued and taken care of properly. 

In addition to profiling the owners of Chicken Run Rescue in Minneapolis, the author also profiles a adolescent Abigail and her rescued chicken, Billiam, as well as other chickens and their rescuers. I think young readers in particular will like that there is a profile of a young person and that other children are also featured in the book. The very back of the book also offers a list of resources for learning more about chickens, including how to include lessons about chickens and life cycles without hatching chicks in the classroom – a large reason why many chicks are abandoned. 

City Chickens also talks about keeping chickens healthy and some of the health problems that abandoned chicks often suffer. The author notes that if you keep urban chickens, it is important to find a veterinarian that is able to provide proper chicken care which may not always be easy to find in an urban area. 

I loved this little book, and I think you should pick it up to read with your kids or in your classroom. My son and I are planning our own little homestead and urban oasis (we’re moving from the country back to the city!) and want to raise chickens for their eggs, as pets, and also as insect control in our garden (all of which are noted as options in City Chickens), so I headed to the library to find books about chickens. Most of what I was found was far beyond what I was looking for which brought me to the children’s section and City Chickens

As with many of the books I review, I found City Chickens Christine Heppermann at my local library. However, you can also find it on Amazon HERE.

Do you raise chickens? Have your kids participated in chicken hatching projects at school? Drop a comment and let us know!
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