Once Upon a Flock: Life with My Soulful Chickens
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Once Upon a Flock: Life with My Soulful Chickens

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by Lauren Scheuer
     
 

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When longtime illustrator and lover of power tools Lauren Scheuer was looking for a project, she got the idea to raise backyard chickens. Her husband and teenage daughter looked on incredulously as coop sketches and chicken-raising books filled their New England home. But when the chicks arrived, the whole family fell in love with the bundles of fluff and the wild…  See more details below

Overview

When longtime illustrator and lover of power tools Lauren Scheuer was looking for a project, she got the idea to raise backyard chickens. Her husband and teenage daughter looked on incredulously as coop sketches and chicken-raising books filled their New England home. But when the chicks arrived, the whole family fell in love with the bundles of fluff and the wild adventures began.

Once Upon a Flock: Life with My Soulful Chickens stars Scheuer’s backyard chickens—with their big personalities, friendships, rivalries, and secrets—and the flock’s guardian, Marky the terrier. The flock includes Hatsy, the little dynamo; Lil’White, the deranged and twisted Buff Orpington; Pigeon, the fixer-upper chicken; and Lucy, the special-needs hen who bonds with Lauren and becomes a fast friend.

This charming story of Lauren’s life with her quirky flock is filled with moments of humor and heartbreak: When Lucy is afflicted with a neurological disease, Lauren builds Lucy a special-needs coop. When Lucy’s nesting instinct leads

Lauren to act as a chicken midwife of sorts, Lauren hatches a chick in her home. And when Lucy’s best friend Hatsy falls ill, Lauren finds an unlikely friend for Lucy in a chicken named Pigeon, who requires an emergency bath and blow-dry. Enthusiastically immersing herself in the world of her flock, Lauren discovers that love, loss, passion, and resilience are not only parts of the human experience, but of the chicken experience as well. Throughout it all, Lauren documents the laughter and drama of her flock’s adventures with her own whimsical photos and illustrations. At once humorous, poignant, and informative, Once Upon a Flock is a feathered tale like no other.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Though readers may not associate chickens with empathy, this delightful book will likely change such opinions. After Scheuer, a children’s book illustrator who writes the blog Scratch and Peck, decided to introduce chicks to her rural Massachusetts backyard, the rewards of raising them to adulthood (with her husband and teenage daughter) far outpaced her minimal expectations, offering “hilarity and drama and life.” Her keen eye for subtle interactions enabled her to clearly delineate the distinct characters of Hatsy, Little White, Lucy, and Jenny, compelling the reader to invest in each bird, and in their ups and downs almost as intensely as Scheuer did. With frequent examples of selflessness—a chicken slowing its pace to match an ill comrade, or staying outside in the terrifying nighttime darkness to keep another company—the author pre-empts any criticism that she’s just anthropomorphized her beloved animals. This must-have for animal lovers also features Scheuer’s drawings, which along with photographs, enhance the endearing text. Illus. Agent: Laurie Abkemeier, DeFiore and Company. (Mar.)
Stacey O'Brien
“This book is like a cool breath of fresh air on a hot summer day. It’s full of delight, whimsy, joy, and hilarity, yet it goes much deeper than that. Each member of this little flock has her own personality traits, quirks, preferences, and logic. Some are compassionate and nurturing, others are competitive and mean-spirited. With her photos and drawings throughout the book, Scheuer entertains, teaches, and captivates the reader. You will learn more about chickens than you ever thought possible, and will fall in love with them along the way. I highly recommend this book!”
From the Publisher
"Lauren Scheuer is a writer of immense warmth who beautifully captures the quirks, comedy, and drama of backyard chickens. You will love Lucy, Hatsy, and the other amusing characters of her flock. You will love Marky the dog and Danny the husband. But most of all you will love Lauren and her gentle and generous soul. This remarkable interspecies family will make you laugh, will touch your heart, and — yes, believe it — just might make you cry. Once Upon a Flock is a celebration of all that is sweet and simple and pure in life."

“This book is like a cool breath of fresh air on a hot summer day. It’s full of delight, whimsy, joy, and hilarity, yet it goes much deeper than that. Each member of this little flock has her own personality traits, quirks, preferences, and logic. Some are compassionate and nurturing, others are competitive and mean-spirited. With her photos and drawings throughout the book, Scheuer entertains, teaches, and captivates the reader. You will learn more about chickens than you ever thought possible, and will fall in love with them along the way. I highly recommend this book!”

“Part memoir, part photo album, part comic book, Once Upon a Flock is wholly delightful—as are all the distinctive, compelling individual chickens you’ll come to know and love in these pages. I loved it!”

“From the first page, Lauren Scheuer and her flock are the next-door neighbors you wish you had. She is witty, charming, and constantly delighted by the antics of her backyard hens. This is the book I wish I'd read when I brought my first chicks home from the feed store. As an artist and as a writer, Lauren perfectly captures the joy and heartache of backyard chicken-keeping. Whether you're raising a flock yourself or only dreaming of it, you'll love this book.”

“Once Upon a Flock has a clear message: Chickens are people, too. They form bonds, have spats, make new friends and even fall in love. Prepare to be charmed and even moved by the story of these birds, so much so, you might find yourself the proud owner of a couple of chicks.”

Stacey O’Brien
“This book is like a cool breath of fresh air on a hot summer day. It’s full of delight, whimsy, joy, and hilarity, yet it goes much deeper than that. Each member of this little flock has her own personality traits, quirks, preferences, and logic. Some are compassionate and nurturing, others are competitive and mean-spirited. With her photos and drawings throughout the book, Scheuer entertains, teaches, and captivates the reader. You will learn more about chickens than you ever thought possible, and will fall in love with them along the way. I highly recommend this book!”
John Grogan
"Lauren Scheuer is a writer of immense warmth who beautifully captures the quirks, comedy, and drama of backyard chickens. You will love Lucy, Hatsy, and the other amusing characters of her flock. You will love Marky the dog and Danny the husband. But most of all you will love Lauren and her gentle and generous soul. This remarkable interspecies family will make you laugh, will touch your heart, and — yes, believe it — just might make you cry. Once Upon a Flock is a celebration of all that is sweet and simple and pure in life."
Stacey O’Brien
“This book is like a cool breath of fresh air on a hot summer day. It’s full of delight, whimsy, joy, and hilarity, yet it goes much deeper than that. Each member of this little flock has her own personality traits, quirks, preferences, and logic. Some are compassionate and nurturing, others are competitive and mean-spirited. With her photos and drawings throughout the book, Scheuer entertains, teaches, and captivates the reader. You will learn more about chickens than you ever thought possible, and will fall in love with them along the way. I highly recommend this book!”
Sy Montgomery
“Part memoir, part photo album, part comic book, Once Upon a Flock is wholly delightful—as are all the distinctive, compelling individual chickens you’ll come to know and love in these pages. I loved it!”
Amy Stewart
“From the first page, Lauren Scheuer and her flock are the next-door neighbors you wish you had. She is witty, charming, and constantly delighted by the antics of her backyard hens. This is the book I wish I'd read when I brought my first chicks home from the feed store. As an artist and as a writer, Lauren perfectly captures the joy and heartache of backyard chicken-keeping. Whether you're raising a flock yourself or only dreaming of it, you'll love this book.”
Tamara Staples
“Once Upon a Flock has a clear message: Chickens are people, too. They form bonds, have spats, make new friends and even fall in love. Prepare to be charmed and even moved by the story of these birds, so much so, you might find yourself the proud owner of a couple of chicks.”
Kirkus Reviews
The charmingly quirky story of a woman and the flock of spirited chickens that stole her heart. When her teenage daughter and friends abandoned it, blogger, illustrator and DIY mom Scheuer knew that her yard, which had once been "a mecca of colorful activities and adventures," needed a makeover. So she transformed it into a home for chickens, which arrived by mail. Scheuer threw herself into the project and built the coop where her hens would roost. In love with her birds from the day they hatched, she documented their daily lives with drawings and photographs, which she includes on almost every page of the book. Her chickens--Hatsy, Lucy and Lil' White--weren't simply lawn ornaments and egg-producers; they were beings with colorfully distinctive personalities. Hatsy was the egg-laying wonder, Lucy the affectionate friend and Lil' White the sometimes mean-spirited beauty. With insight and humor, Scheuer describes the relationships among her animals. She recounts how her terrier Marky "drooled" over them at first but then became their dedicated guardian. The birds themselves had their own dramas. Lucy developed Marek's disease, which crippled her feet. True to the "wild roots" of all chickens, Lil' White suddenly began attacking her. Lucy survived and eventually became the flock "mother," nurturing an egg that contained the flock's one rooster. When Hatsy weakened and died, the birds closed ranks and mourned because "[they] knew." Scheuer adopted another bird, a scrawny "fixer-upper" named Pigeon, who became both the flock leader and Lucy's new best friend. Scheuer shows that though feathers and fur may separate humans from animals, all creatures are capable of attachment, cruelty, joy and sadness, regardless of the skin they wear. Pleasant, sensitive storytelling.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781451698756
Publisher:
Atria Books
Publication date:
03/19/2013
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
671,117
File size:
31 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.

What People are saying about this

Sy Montgomery
“Part memoir, part photo album, part comic book, Once Upon a Flock is wholly delightful—as are all the distinctive, compelling individual chickens you’ll come to know and love in these pages. I loved it!”
Amy Stewart
“From the first page, Lauren Scheuer and her flock are the next-door neighbors you wish you had. She is witty, charming, and constantly delighted by the antics of her backyard hens. This is the book I wish I'd read when I brought my first chicks home from the feed store. As an artist and as a writer, Lauren perfectly captures the joy and heartache of backyard chicken-keeping. Whether you're raising a flock yourself or only dreaming of it, you'll love this book.”
John Grogan
"Lauren Scheuer is a writer of immense warmth who beautifully captures the quirks, comedy, and drama of backyard chickens. You will love Lucy, Hatsy, and the other amusing characters of her flock. You will love Marky the dog and Danny the husband. But most of all you will love Lauren and her gentle and generous soul. This remarkable interspecies family will make you laugh, will touch your heart, and — yes, believe it — just might make you cry. Once Upon a Flock is a celebration of all that is sweet and simple and pure in life.
Tamara Staples
“Once Upon a Flock has a clear message: Chickens are people, too. They form bonds, have spats, make new friends and even fall in love. Prepare to be charmed and even moved by the story of these birds, so much so, you might find yourself the proud owner of a couple of chicks.”
Stacey O'Brien
“This book is like a cool breath of fresh air on a hot summer day. It’s full of delight, whimsy, joy, and hilarity, yet it goes much deeper than that. Each member of this little flock has her own personality traits, quirks, preferences, and logic. Some are compassionate and nurturing, others are competitive and mean-spirited. With her photos and drawings throughout the book, Scheuer entertains, teaches, and captivates the reader. You will learn more about chickens than you ever thought possible, and will fall in love with them along the way. I highly recommend this book!”

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Meet the Author

Lauren Scheuer writes the popular blog “Scratch and Peck.” A UCLA graduate and freelance illustrator, she lives in Massachusetts with her family and her chickens. You can find out more at LaurenScheuer.com.

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Once Upon a Flock: Life with My Soulful Chickens 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Kaye12- More than 1 year ago
This is a refreshing and charming true story skillfully written and illustrated by a woman who possesses an unusual capacity to understand what motivates living things.