Once Upon a Flock Book Review
Artist Lauren Scheuer‘s daughter had become an independent teenage, leaving Lauren with a bit of an empty nest syndrome. We added our first dog to the household when my eldest son was nearing the end of high school and making plans for far-off colleges and the second dog came when son number two left home for college in New York City. So I could completely relate to Lauren’s longing for some added little ones in her yard and the joy she found connecting with her peeping chicks.
As a young country girl, I naturally longed to add horses to our acres of property, receiving a stern “Absolutely not” from my dad. I then tried, “How about some chickens?” Also shut down. So I settled for dogs, lovely Dutch bunnies, and gerbils. My good friend Jenny lived on a farm where her family raised their own food, keeping a small assortment of cows, goats, and chickens. Our favorites to watch after a Saturday sleepover were the Guinea hens, who would lower their heads, raise their wings, and madly dash about each other in the yard. My friend and her brothers dubbed them the Keystone Cops, and they provided hours of entertainment.
So I couldn’t wait to jump into Scheuer’s new book, Once Upon a Flock: Life With My Soulful Chickens. As Lauren and her family get to know each of their new family members, we see these chickens are more than empty-headed egg layers. They are individuals with unique personalities and quirks. A day in the yard is more exciting than reality TV. Which chicken would become “top dog?” How would alliances be formed? What would happen when a newcomer was added to the established flock? Scheuer takes the reader into the lives of social chickens, showing us the good, the bad, and the hilarious. Scheuer captures particularly poignant moments as one chicken would come to the aid and support of a fellow chicken, like two old ladies who’d been best friends sharing afternoon tea for years.
Lovely moments and tight-knit relationships filled with love and squabbles will make even the most skeptical reader think twice the next time a chicken tips it’s head and asks, “Bwrap?” After reading Once Upon a Flock, I bet you’ll answer the questioning hen with your own, “Bwip! Oh dear.”
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