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Monday, March 31, 2014

peggy, written and illustrated by Anna Walker. Clarion, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Thomas Allen $ Son, 2014. $19.99 ages 4 and up

"Peggy landed with
a soft thud.
She was far from home.
She picked herself up,
ruffled her feathers,
and went for a walk.

Peggy saw things
she had never seen before."

Yes...another chicken with adventure at hand. There have been others. Peggy is sure to charm you. She's got a perfectly lovely little house, a trampoline (what chicken wouldn't enjoy the pleasures of such an apparatus?), and a yard filled with sunflowers. She spends her days fully content with its many distractions. It is a rogue wind that changes her life.

She is happily bouncing on the trampoline when a gust blows her into the air, over the fence and drops her with a soft thud in unfamiliar territory. Always up to a challenge, Peggy makes the best of the situation. The place is a mass of movement and revelation. It isn't too long until she yearns for home. Help is not easy to elicit. When she sees a familiar sunflower, she follows it. Alas, it leads nowhere familiar!

Forlorn and cold on a park bench, she happens to notice a flock of pigeons overhead. Might they be the ones she has seen from her backyard? Might they lead her back home again? IF she finds her way home, will she now be content to stay there day after day?

This is a short story, told simply in repetitive language that will encourage early readers to try it for themselves. The ink and photo collage artwork is created to bring the subtle humor of the story to the forefront. I love the sea of city feet and the urban sky filled with brightly colored umbrellas, the droll expression of a chicken set on an adventure she was not expecting but dealing with its results, and the happy (if a bit surprising) ending. It is sure to make your listeners giggle and you to want to read it again.

You MIGHT even learn a new appreciation for pigeons!


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