SONYA'S CHICKENS by Phoebe Wahl
Kirkus Star

SONYA'S CHICKENS

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A father’s thoughtful explanation provides a helpful perspective for a child’s loss.

Sonya is bereft when a fox takes one of the three chickens she’s cared for like a mother, but her papa comforts her with the idea that the fox is also trying to feed his family. Her family acknowledges Sonya’s grief with a small ceremony, and the child and her chickens move on. There’s an old-fashioned feel to this simple story and its timeless illustrations, created with watercolor, collage, and colored pencil and reminiscent of Goodnight Moon in mood, design, and palette. Inside, Sonya’s house is cozy and dark. In contrast, the world outside shines white, as background to text, with vignettes or a frame or portion of the opposite image spilling across the gutter. A warm scene of Sonya’s mixed-race family having dinner together is mirrored later on by one with the fox curled up with its kits, each family shown opposite a page with an egg-shaped text frame. Both words and illustrations emphasize comfort and the security a family can provide. But this is also a realistic description of chicken care, including preparing, cleaning, and repairing the coop, feeding the chickens, and making sure they have water and fresh straw—even finding eggs.

A reassuring story about death in the natural world, thoughtfully designed and illustrated. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 11th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-770-49789-4
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Tundra
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2015




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