Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Oh no! Chickens on the Loose!

Chickens on the Loose, by Jane Kurtz/Illustrated by John Joseph, (May 2021, West Margin Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781513267241

Ages 4-8

A group of urban chickens take to the streets to cause madness and mayhem in this hilarious rhyming story. They wreak havoc at a thrift shop; stop at a yoga studio, descend upon food trucks, and listen to no one! The rhyming theme gets some breathing room from the repetitive phrase, “‘STOP!’ [from a human in the story] “But the chickens will not stop.” It’s the perfect opportunity to have your readers call out to these menacing chickens – or hand out some printable masks from SuperColoring, and have your own group of chickens cluck and bock-bock their way through the story. Informational back matter includes helpful facts on raising and keeping urban chickens, and the endpapers are grey-blue and white spreads of feathers and chicken tracks. Colorful, cartoony artwork adds to the fun of the story, with a frenetic group of chickens racing through an urban landscape and the town’s citizens in various states of dismay, surprise, even delight. Absolute fun, and I can’t wait to read this at my next storytime, most likely while wearing a chicken mask.

Get classroom resources, a peek inside the book, and a fun video at this page on Jane Kurtz’s website!


Jane Kurtz is an award-winning children’s book author, speaker, educator, and she is on the faculty of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Children’s and YA Literature. She is a co-founder of the nonprofit Ethiopia Reads, an organization that brings books and literacy to the children in Ethiopia, where Jane grew up. She also heads the creative team of Ready Set Go Books, a project of Open Hearts Big Dreams to create fun, colorful, local language books for people in Ethiopia. She is the author of many books for children, including River Friendly River Wild, winner of the SCBWI Golden Kite award for picture book text, and What Do They Do With All That Poo?, a finalist to the AAAS/Subaru SB&F Excellence in Science Books list; it has also been named to several state reading lists, voted on by children. To learn more, visit her website:

Instagram: @writerjanie

Twitter: @janekurtz

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

The Chickens Are Coming! What do we do?

The Chickens Are Coming!, by Barbara Samuels, (March 2019, Farrar Straus Giroux), $17.99, ISBN: 9780374300975

Ages 4-8

Siblings Winston and Sophie are shopping with their mom one day when they discover an interesting sign: someone called The Chicken Lady is moving and needs to rehome her chickens. Winston, Sophie, and their parents decide to take on the task of becoming urban farmers and adopting them! They get their backyard ready, setting up the coop and telling their friends; they promise fresh eggs to everyone, and Winston even creates a Chicken Dance. Once the chickens arrive, though, the family learns that chickens take work! They don’t want to be pets and they don’t want to lay eggs: not even for bedtime stories; not for relaxing music that the kids play for them; not at all. As Winston and Sophie try desperately to get the chickens to acclimate to their new home and family, they discover that each chicken has its own personality – and that each one is special is in its own way.

The Chickens are Coming! is a cute story about patience and learning. Winston and Sophie learn about raising farm animals in a city environment, which comes with unique challenges, and they learn that chickens aren’t just egg-laying machines for their convenience. Colorful artwork makes this appealing to readers, and each chicken is beautifully illustrated. An author’s note provides information about urban chicken-rearing, and a copy of Sophie’s Chicken Chart shows lets readers compare the different breeds, countries of origin, and egg sizes and colors. Endpapers feature the chickens in their colorful glory.

Pair this one with Caroline Arnold’s Hatching Chicks in Room 6 for more information about raising chicks in a nontraditional environment. This is a good read before a farm or domestic animal zoo visit.