When Shaina discovers an unusual hen sporting “emerald green feathers with golden speckles,” she strives to find its rightful owner.
Although her hungry family wants to make chicken soup, Shaina insists they restore the newfound hen to Izzy Pippik, who has left town. By the time he returns, the hen has given birth to a multiplying flock of chickens. The chickens have overrun the town, and people are mad, but then the merchants realize that the freely ranging chickens have brought prosperity back because everyone wants to visit. Shaina is overjoyed when Pippik shows up. She tries to return Yevka, the original hen, and the whole flock, but Izzy matches her honesty with his generosity by allowing all to stay. Shocked, Shaina tells him he can’t. “If they’re mine to have,” he says, “they’re mine to give,” and the poverty-stricken townspeople have been saved by an upright girl and an altruistic gentleman. Retro, droll pencil illustrations colored in Photoshop show a European town in the 1930s. Shaina and Yevka echo each other as they walk along, with red bow and comb, black braid and tail feather bouncing in the breeze, green-and-white pinafore dress and feathers. Although no specific sources are stated, the author/storyteller has drawn upon Talmudic and Islamic folklore.
Steadfast and quietly amusing, Shaina is a girl to admire. (Picture book. 5-8)