Thanks to fabulous librarian Ms. S. for this recommendation! Walking in from the school parking lot today, I was the only mother in a group of four who doesn’t own chickens. My boy wants them, too, after reading this book.
The Secret Chicken Society by Judy Cox. Illustrated by Amanda Haley.
Daniel, our third-grade hero, is the second oldest in a family of six, which also includes teen older brother Tyler, sisters Kelsey (7) and Emmy (4), as well as a nurse mom and stay-at-home blogger dad. One day, his beautiful teacher, Mrs. Lopez, announces that the class is going to try to hatch some eggs. No one in the class is more excited or devoted to the five chicks that hatch than Daniel. When the school year ends and it’s time for the chicks to find permanent homes, though nearly all the kids put their names in for a chick, he’s the only one whose parents actually say yes. His family is on board (mostly) with the five adorable chicks. The neighbors’ reactions are more mixed – sweet Mrs. Grafalo next door loves them, but her grouchy husband (nicknamed Mr. Gruffalo) is sure one of them will be a loud rooster, and that they’ll get into his yard and destroy the garden. And when it turns out that one of the sweet chicks might actually be an illegal rooster, the siblings form the Secret Chicken Society to protect Peepers. This is realistic and funny family fiction in early chapter book form, with enough details in the text and the appendix that would-be chicken owners could really get started. My son, the same who likes bloody epic fantasy, ate this up and begged for more chapters every night I read it to him.