Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft"Meet the Chicken!" This "Farm Animals" series has a distinctly personal and almost nostalgic aura: animals and small farms shown are clean and neat, some buildings are of stone, family members are workingit's definitely not agribusiness! In each volume, ample pages bordered in a design of that animal's footprints offer engaging color photographs like one here of a gorgeously colored rooster in China. Ten sections present topics ranging from descriptions of breeds and types through feeding, training, and caring for the animals to life cycles and history. Chicken varieties include white leghorn, dorking, and faverolles; readers will learn that all domestic chickens derive from red jungle fowl of Vietnam and Thailand. A two-page spread illustrates chicken features: feathers, feet, necks, and heads. Caring for chickens requires seeing that the fowl get enough protein and that eggs are turned three to five times daily. Future farmers and city kids will be interested to discover chickens in history, including a Roman belief about foretelling the future and a place in the Chinese zodiac calendar; a short retelling introduces readers to a Mexican folktale about Half-Chicken, who became a weathervane. For inquiring minds, a short quiz and two recommended books point to further research, while a "Frequently Asked Questions" section answers queries like "What are broody hens?" Unusual for the variety of information presented, the freshness of its graphic appeal, and recognition of the antiquity and traditions of animal husbandry, this series is an exceptional value for its reasonable price.
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