Backyard chooks (chickens) are endlessly entertaining—they’re full of personality, charming to watch and obliging with lovely eggs.
Peggy is a backyard chook; she has a lovely little house in a suburban back yard with sunflowers and a trampoline.
One day a strong wind blows her into the city (it’s Melbourne I’m pretty sure, but you have to look for clues). This presents both a dilemma (how will Peggy get home) and a brilliant opportunity to see new things.
Peggy is quite the inquisitive chook, as chooks tend to be, so seeing the city through her eyes is a lot of fun. This is a great story, and the illustrations are wonderful because they tell so much of the story too. I love the pages showing Peggy at home: she bounces on the trampoline, plays with the sunflowers and generally goofs around and has a ball, in sunshine or snow.
There are fabulous contrasts between the adults hurrying along under umbrellas (whose lack of curiosity even extends to a chicken wandering down a busy city street!) and Peggy who is fascinated by all the things ‘she had never seen before’, such as herself on TV, a mohawked teenager, a city fountain and so on.
There’s a page showing Peggy indulging in all sorts of new experiences—it's fabulous, funny and thought provoking. What would be new to a chicken? What is new to me? What should I be seeing afresh?
Finally, after following some sunflowers part way home, Peggy meets up with some pigeons who show her how to get the rest of the way home.
It’s a very satisfying ending and there are another couple of pages showing Peggy in her post-adventure everyday life – now with the pigeons visiting. But the very last page is my favourite – it tells us that Peggy “sometimes caught the train to the city.” What a great reminder to embrace new things while loving home!
This is a really appealing book to read with someone who is mad for chickens, or worried about new experiences, maybe a homebody—they’ll relate to Peggy’s yearning for home, someone who is a bit too busy to notice the joy and fun in life, or deeply attached to a routine - or keen to try new things!
* We’ve had chooks for many years and they're a constant source of fun. The pic is one of ours who got a fright when being chased by the neighbour’s dog. I couldn’t find her anywhere until about half an hour later when I found her nestled in the family’s folded laundry—I guess she felt safe there! She was very glad to get home safely too!