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Hens for Friends


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About the Author

Author Sandy De Lisle: Only because she has serious concerns that her dogs Jazz, Rambo, and Fluff would not tolerate hens for friends, Sandy De Lisle lives chicken-less in a Chicago suburb with her husband Dave and their three sons Dustin, Aaron, and Grayson. As a former teacher, and now, a writer for the ASPCA, Sandy values the power of stories in creating a more humane world. Hens for Friends is her first picture book.
Artist Amelia Hansen: Amelia Hansen is the much-honored illustrator of It's Raining Cats and Cats!, Are You Ready for Me?, It's Raining Pups and Dogs, and At the Dog Park with Sam and Lucy, all Gryphon Press titles, as well as nineteen other books exploring the connections between people, animals, and the earth. If she's not in her studio, you may find Amelia painting outdoors, riding her bike, walking with friends, or hanging out with her husband, cats, chickens and bees.


Hens for Friends is not only a great story about animal-human friendship, but it is also filled with useful, interesting information about raising backyard hens. The illustrations of the chickens are realistic while also being warm and inviting. This book would be a valuable addition to any classroom or library to help children understand proper pet care. Kids of all ages will love this book. I can't wait to read Hens for Friends to my granddaughter!

--Nancy Carlson, author of Sometimes You Barf, I Like Me, and sixty-four other beloved children's picture books Hens for Friends is a recommended read for anyone looking for a beautiful tale of friendship between an animal and a child. An enchanting story of compassion and respect extended by a young boy to a hen named Margaret, it provides an opportunity to see chickens showcased as the wonderful, engaging individuals they are. --Suzanne McMillan, Senior Director, Farm Animal Welfare Campaign, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Kirkus Reviews: Aaron loves all his family's chickens, but Rhode Island Red Margaret is his special favorite. It's no wonder, as Margaret has an especially fetching expression in Hansen's line-and-watercolor illustrations, which take advantage of natural chicken physiognomy to endow Margaret and the rest of the flock with demure "smiles." They make it clear that it's not just the eggs that spur Aaron's devotion. In a simple, personable narration, Aaron tells readers that his family got their flock from Mother Hen Chicken Rescue after the city council passed an ordinance allowing residents to keep the birds. He explains how they house, care for, and feed the chickens, gather eggs, and use the composted "poop" in their garden. When Aaron remarks that the chickens' dust baths look like fun, his mother soberly explains that factory-farm chickens live in decidedly worse conditions. With that one exception, De Lisle keeps the tone light, ending the story with a birthday cake for little brother Eduardo made with Margaret's eggs. Backmatter explains more about chicken keeping, offers tips on chicken care, and for readers prepared to keep them responsibly, suggests resources for chicken adoption. Margaret and the rest of the flock are depicted on the endpapers, but it's a shame that they are not specifically identified by breed. That Aaron and his family are Latino is just icing on the cake in this engaging introduction to keeping backyard chickens. (Picture book. 5-8)

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