Three Hens and a Peacock – Saturday Story Spotlight

Welcome to Saturday Story Spotlight, my feature where I discuss books my husband and I are reading with our son, Daniel. These are books that he, we, or all of us particularly enjoy.

Three Hens and a Peacock by Lester A. Laminack, illustrated by Henry Cole
Published by Peachtree Publishing

The Tuckers’ farm is a quiet place until, one day, when a peacock shows up on the front step. Not one to sit idly by, the peacock starts strutting his stuff, and draws a crowd to the Tuckers’ farm stand. Not too surprisingly, the hens start to get jealous of all the attention the peacock is getting, especially since he doesn’t even do any of the work around the farm, not like them, intrepid egg-layers that they are. In order to calm everyone down, the farm hound dog suggests that the peacock and the hens switch jobs.

My very favorite thing about Three Hens and a Peacock is the illustration. The pictures are gorgeously drawn, slightly cartoonish with rich, beautiful colors. The level of detail in the illustration just adds to the pure beauty. I also like the twist on the ‘be yourself’ storyline; the hens are so much fun when they are trying to fancy themselves up, to be what they aren’t. You really can’t beat chickens with beads, bows, and bracelets. Plus, you know Daniel loves the fact that there are chickens, not to mention cows (although the cows are just part of the farm backdrop).

Three Hens and a Peacock is a fun and beautiful book, and one our family has really enjoyed. Highly recommended.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound | Amazon*

Source: Publisher
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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Coop by Michael Perry – Book Review

Coop by Michael Perry
Published by Harper Perennial, an imprint of Harper Collins

After spending his early life growing up on a farm, Michael Perry has returned, this time with his step-daughter and pregnant life. The family’s aim is relative self-sufficiency, or at least living from their land – and Perry’s writing work. His wife Annaliese, who plans to deliver the baby at home with the help of a midwife, will be homeschooling their daughter Amy (theoretically they are both doing it, but in practice it is largely Annaliese), and all of them will be working to get their farm working again. Pigs and chickens populate their lives, as Perry recalls his youth on a nearby farm and the lessons it has taught him, and those he has still to learn, about his adult life.

“Coop” has the feel almost of being Perry’s diary, or a recording of his thoughts over this year of his life. He travels effortlessly between the past and the present without being overly obvious about where he is going, but also while managing to give the reader a roadmap to what is happening when. It was this highly effective subtlety that really impressed me about “Coop.” Perry’s remembrances of his past always tied in with what was going on in the present, as might be expected with the diary or journal feel that “Coop” had, but he never belabored the point. Instead, Perry gives his readers the tools necessary to make the connections and he trusts them to do just that, not even titling his chapters. And you know what? It worked. I got the themes, I understood the trains of thought, and I felt that Perry respected me as a reader by not explicityl spelling every last thing out for me. He is also brutally honest about his life and hardships and is always hardest on himself without being obnoxiously self-deprecating, which is hugely attractive in this sort of memoir.

The chicken report: Perry had both laying hens and meat hens. I’m really only interested in the former, I have no desire to butcher my own meat. I loved his love of the chickens, and his descriptions of their personalities. I thought he walked the line between loving the birds and not becoming too attached very well and, even more impressively, he helped his young daughter do the same.

Perry seems to respect me as a reader and, as such, I respect him greatly as a writer. This is not the world’s fastest read, but it is a book worth taking your time with; I definitely recommend it if you are interested at all in the life of a man and his family returning to the farm.

Buy this book from:
A local independent bookstore via Indiebound.*

Source: Publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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Harvest Week: Why Harvest Week?

Of everything I do on my blog, there is one feature which I have been wanting to do for a very long time, the feature which I am actually starting today, and that is Harvest Week. So now you have two questions:
1) What is Harvest Week?
2) Why have you wanted so badly to do this?

Glad you asked! Harvest Week is simply a (made up by me) celebration of those people who have marched opposite to the general flow of American society and made the trek from the city back to the farm. To celebrate I will be reviewing three books that are on this theme to varying degrees: “Coop” by Michael Perry, “The Bucolic Plague” by Josh Kilmer-Purcell, and “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver. I thought that Thanksgiving week was an appropriate time for this, since it was originally about celebrating the bounty of the earth which sustained the Pilgrims.

‘Why Harvest Week’ is a more personal question. Part of the reason was just that I wanted an excuse to make time for the books I will be reviewing this week. This type of food literature has been near and dear to my heart ever since I read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan shortly before I began blogging. They really aren’t quite the same type of book as “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” (which I loved), but they do typify the type of life I have been drawn to ever since reading Pollan’s book. As an aside, I don’t think that it will ever cease to be funny to me that his last name is POLLAN, and he writes about FOOD, and PLANTS in particular.

Anyway, ever since “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” I have harbored a not-so-secret desire to have a backyard that contains both a vegetable garden and chickens. They’ll eat my bugs! They’ll provide great fertilizer! Eating grass and my bugs will give their eggs a crazy good flavor compared to the generic junk at the grocery store!

Um, yeah, so anyway, there’s the thing you may not have known about me, I geek out over the thought of raising chickens. I don’t really know how it is done, though, so let’s hope that I pick up some tips from this week’s books.