Chickenology The Ultimate Encyclopedia


“Give that chicken fat

Back to the chicken,

And don’t be chicken again.

No, don’t be chicken again”

--Meredith Wilson (1962)

Did you know that:

“There are chickens...that are taller than a three-year-old child.”

“When the chicken goes ‘buk buk buk BAKAW it means it has just laid an egg and is inviting the other chickens to do the same. This is because if a predator were to find more than one egg in the nest, this chicken’s egg would have a greater chance of survival”

“If you counted every single one of a chicken’s feathers, you’d probably get to five thousand!”

“The longest flight ever recorded for a chicken lasted about fifteen seconds for a distance of around three hundred feet.”

“Although a chicken’s brain is small, it contains more neurons than that of most mammals, and even some primates.”

In fifth grade, we set up a fish tank and a lightbulb as an incubator and hatched eggs in class. My parents agreed to adopt the chicks that hatched, and so we converted a backyard shed into a henhouse and attached a fenced run. Unfortunately, one Sunday my parents received a 4:30 AM call from Barry and Roberta, our backyard neighbors, who complained that the flock was outside and the rooster was crowing up a storm. This made my parents rethink their decision and, sadly, by the next day, the chickens had been exiled to a nearby poultry farm.

Having raised chickens, I thought I knew something about them, but any kid paying half-attention to the fascinating and voluminous information contained in CHICKENOLOGY will be a hundred times the expert that I ever was.

CHICKENOLOGY contains five chapters: Discovering the World of Chickens; What’s a Chicken Made Of?; The Egg Up Close; Chickens and Humans; and A World of Chicken Breeds. Within each chapter are dozens of individual, illustrated concepts. The co-authors keep backyard chickens themselves, and maintain a website dedicated to chickens and eggs. (Or eggs and chickens, if you think the egg came first.)

Speaking of which, there is information here about a dinosaur ancestor, the early chickens who evolved from it, and the 5,000 year history of humankind’s domestication and selective breeding of gallus gallus domesticus .

The artwork is gorgeous! The book begins with endpapers featuring illustrations of dozens of chicken eggs of different sizes, shapes, and colors. The entire book is filled with images, diagrams, and charts that are beautifully hand-drawn and clearly-captioned. The information is presented in bite size pieces, reminding me of the 1970s Provensens’ Maple Hill Farm books. There are even beautiful tapeworms, poultry lice, and Salmonella bacteria!

The interesting facts, rich technical vocabulary, and eye-catching artwork make this a wonderful piece of illustrated nonfiction for six- to ten-year-olds.

80 pages                          978-1-61689-908-0                       Ages 5-9

Recommended by:  Richie Partington, MLIS, California USA

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Welcome to the wonderful world of chickens! This beloved barnyard bird is full of surprises. Did you know some chickens are so small they can perch in the palm of your hand, and others have feathers that look like a beard? Chickens can learn to count up to four and have excellent hearing—many even like to listen to music!

Chickenology takes young readers on a fascinating and informative tour of chickens. Discover the incredible variety of chickens with different origins, breeds, and feather patterns; delve into chicken anatomy and evolution; and even learn the basics of chicken care. With a playful tone and irresistibly charming illustrations by rising star Camilla Pintonato, this lively visual encyclopedia presents chickens in all of their feathered glory.---from the publisher

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