A Hen for Izzy Pippik

A Hen for Izzy Pippik

by Aubrey Davis

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When Shaina finds a magnificent hen, she knows that Izzy Pippik, the hen's owner, is sure to return for her. In the meantime, Shaina decides she will care for the animal. But when dozens of eggs hatch and rowdy chickens scatter throughout the village, Shaina must fight the entire town if she has any hope of protecting the birds. Inspired by Jewish and Islamic


When Shaina finds a magnificent hen, she knows that Izzy Pippik, the hen's owner, is sure to return for her. In the meantime, Shaina decides she will care for the animal. But when dozens of eggs hatch and rowdy chickens scatter throughout the village, Shaina must fight the entire town if she has any hope of protecting the birds. Inspired by Jewish and Islamic traditional texts, this is a beautiful tale about doing the right thing, even in the face of adversity.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
“Times were tough,” writes Davis in his opening to this sharp-witted tale drawn from Jewish and Islamic sources. But when little Shaina comes across a beautiful chicken whose crate has apparently fallen off a truck, the girl doesn’t think poached eggs and fricassee, as her Grandpa and Mama do. Cut from the same cloth as True Grit’s Mattie Ross and bearing a comically striking resemblance to the hen, Shaina stubbornly believes she must protect the bird and its offspring until the putative owner, Izzy Pippik (the name on the busted crate) returns. Readers probably won’t doubt that Shaina will triumph, but Davis (Kishka for Koppel) and Lafrance (The Firehouse Light) don’t make life easy for their heroine; yes, Shaina stands her ground against a grumpy, impoverished town overrun with potential chicken dinners, but when one of her neighbors calls her a “hard-headed nuisance,” it’s a fair assessment. Lafrance deserves a special shout-out for her work—she proves once again that she’s a rare talent who can combine naïf rendering with a highly sophisticated and consistently inventive sense of composition. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Times are tough in young Shaina's town. When a magnificent-looking hen pecks her toe, she traces it back to a broken crate labeled "Izzy Pippik: Chickens and Eggs." Her hungry family eyes the chicken, but Shaina insists it belongs to Izzy Pippik and they must keep it until he returns. So they also can't eat the eggs the hen lays, because they don't belong to them either. And Shaina steadfastly insists that everyone must wait for Izzy Pippik to return, as more and more eggs hatch into chickens. Soon curious visitors bring prosperity to the village. Izzy Pippik's return makes for a surprise happy ending. Lafrance creates the small town with food stalls and streets crowded with people in appropriate clothing, all set to deal with the increasing number of chickens. Double-page scenes depict Shaina's efforts to convince the townsfolk of the right thing to do. Photoshop brings color to the crisp pencil drawings, creating an atmosphere of innocent joy in this ancient folk tale. The final illustration of Shaina and her hen exudes the emotional positive success of her efforts. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 5—Based on ancient Jewish and Islamic tales, and following on the heels of the recent retelling by Elka Weber in One Little Chicken (Tricycle, 2011), this is the story of a chicken lost and the honest girl who finds her. Shaina comes upon a hen near a broken crate marked Izzy Pippik Chickens and Eggs. Despite her family's hunger, she is determined to keep the hen for Izzy until he returns. Months pass, and generations of fowl are born, but Shaina will not let the townspeople eat the chickens or the eggs. The poor village's fortunes rise as it becomes a tourist spot known for its giant flock of lovely poultry, and the people panic when Izzy Pippik finally appears. Luckily, the kindly man gifts the flock to the town and all ends happily. This version is charmingly told with pleasing conversational patterns and alliteration. The Jewish flavor of the story comes through in the names of the townspeople, although their ethnicity is never stated explicitly. The colored pencil illustrations are striking with their clean lines, slightly surreal figures, and muted palette. The early-20th-century setting gives the book a folksy, old-fashioned feeling without pushing it completely into the world of long ago. While Shaina's hardheadedness may seem a bit difficult to fathom, the entertainingly told story and compelling illustrations will pull readers in. A good choice where folktales or character education stories are in demand.—Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
Kirkus Reviews
When Shaina discovers an unusual hen sporting "emerald green feathers with golden speckles," she strives to find its rightful owner. Although her hungry family wants to make chicken soup, Shaina insists they restore the newfound hen to Izzy Pippik, who has left town. By the time he returns, the hen has given birth to a multiplying flock of chickens. The chickens have overrun the town, and people are mad, but then the merchants realize that the freely ranging chickens have brought prosperity back because everyone wants to visit. Shaina is overjoyed when Pippik shows up. She tries to return Yevka, the original hen, and the whole flock, but Izzy matches her honesty with his generosity by allowing all to stay. Shocked, Shaina tells him he can't. "If they're mine to have," he says, "they're mine to give," and the poverty-stricken townspeople have been saved by an upright girl and an altruistic gentleman. Retro, droll pencil illustrations colored in Photoshop show a European town in the 1930s. Shaina and Yevka echo each other as they walk along, with red bow and comb, black braid and tail feather bouncing in the breeze, green-and-white pinafore dress and feathers. Although no specific sources are stated, the author/storyteller has drawn upon Talmudic and Islamic folklore. Steadfast and quietly amusing, Shaina is a girl to admire. (Picture book. 5-8)

Product Details

Kids Can Press, Limited
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.50(d)
AD430L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

For more than 30 years, Aubrey Davis has told stories, performing and conducting workshops across Canada and the United States. His books have received glowing reviews and multiple awards, including the Sydney Taylor Award, the Mr. Christie Award (Silver) and the Canadian Jewish Book Awards Children's Literature Prize. Aubrey lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Marie Lafrance lives in Montreal, Quebec. She has provided illustrations for magazines, newspapers, posters, billboards and dozens of educational books for children. Now she primarily works on picture books, using her warm and gently humorous illustrations to delight and entertain children of all ages.

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