In a tale with a warm tone and an instructional bent, a suburban child tenderly tends a rooster, a trio of hens and their hatchlings in her backyard.
In verse that suffers due to the overuse of “around” as a rhyming word and end words elsewhere that rhyme only in England (and certain parts of New England), Williams introduces young Millie’s small multibreed flock. She describes the girl’s daily routines, from feeding and cuddling to gathering eggs, and closes with Millie and her mom enjoying a delicious meal of eggs on buttered toast. This is followed by pages of more specific comments on chicken breeds, anatomy and care, plus recipes—just for cooking the aforementioned eggs (Millie’s reasons for keeping a rooster go unexamined). Cis captures the idyllic tone with a small but spacious, neatly kept peaceable kingdom surrounded by a properly high, solid fence. A movable coop and the hopper that Millie fills with corn and grit are the only special items to be seen. Cis’ folk-art style results in occasional inconsistencies from page to page and sometimes-peculiar scale.
An equally sweet companion to Laurie Krebs and Cis’ The Beeman (2008), though young children (and their parents) with a yen to raise poultry for pets or other purposes will be better off with a conventional manual. (Picture book. 6-8)