Tag Archives: eggs


24 Jan

Growing up, we had a number of interesting events in New Hamburg, Ontario, most notably the Fall Fair and  the Mennonite Relief Sale. One year, maybe it  was two years, the town held an Eggstravaganza, celebrating all things poultry. We had an egg factory in town and a turkey farm just outside town. No one I knew raised backyard chickens, though.

I have several friends here in Portland that have chickens in their backyards. Occasionally, I am the recipient of their eggstraordinary bounty. They usually have white schools, but I’ve received gifts of fresh chicken eggs in a variety of hues.


The difference between fresh and store-bought eggs in flavor and yolk color cannot be overstated. Fresh eggs are more infinitely more flavorful. Their yolks are a vibrant orange, compared to the pale yellow of a store-bought egg.

Budding chicken farmers and elementary aged readers will love Kelly Jones’  Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer.


Publisher’s Summary: Twelve-year-old Sophie Brown feels like a fish out of water when she and her parents move from Los Angeles to the farm they’ve inherited from a great-uncle. But farm life gets more interesting when a cranky chicken appears and Sophie discovers the hen can move objects with the power of her little chicken brain: jam jars, the latch to her henhouse, the entire henhouse….

And then more of her great-uncle’s unusual chickens come home to roost. Determined, resourceful Sophie learns to care for her flock, earning money for chicken feed, collecting eggs. But when a respected local farmer tries to steal them, Sophie must find a way to keep them (and their superpowers) safe.

Told in letters to Sophie’s abuela, quizzes, a chicken-care correspondence course, to-do lists, and more, Unusual Chickens is a quirky, clucky classic in the making.

I loved this book! It reminded me a little of The Worm Whisperer  by Betty Hicks,which was one of my favorite 4th grade read alouds,  and The Adventures of a South Pole Pig by Chris Kurtz.

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If you have a 3rd, 4th or 5th grade reader, you might encourage them to pick up any of these three books.

You can’t rush creativity

21 May

You can’t rush creativity, but sometimes, teachers have to help our charges get their creativity to meet a deadline. Our inventions have to be built today, so we can spend next week working on poster boards. That’s what I’m telling the kids. The Science Expo is June 2nd. If they stick to that deadline, we’ll be ready 2 days early. Most will make it. Some will need this two buffer days.

P. Zonka is also a creative genius who cannot be rushed.


She is the heroine of P. Zonka Lays an Egg by Julie Paschkis. All the chickens on the farm are regular reliable egg-layers.


Except for P. Zonka. All the other chickens have theories as to why this is so. She wanders too much. She’s a dreamer. Although she’s never laid an egg, P. Zonka knows she’d be good at it. When she explains why the other chickens say, “I don’t get it.” But P. Zonka remains undaunted, and when she finally lays her egg, after some encouragement from the other chickens, it is spectacular.


Julie Paschkis’ illustrations are beautiful and evoke the pysanka (Ukranian Easter eggs) that inspired this story.

I hope the kids I’ve been nagging, doubting and theorizing about produce an invention as spectacular as P. Zonka’s.

You can’t rush creativity, but you can certainly encourage it.

Eggs over easy

3 Oct

What’s the chance two books would have EGG in the title? Excellent, apparently.

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Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire, is a romp through Tsarist Russia.

From the publisher: Elena Rudina lives in the impoverished Russian countryside. Her father has been dead for years. One of her brothers has been conscripted into the Tsar’s army, the other taken as a servant in the house of the local landowner. Her mother is dying, slowly, in their tiny cabin. And there is no food. But then a train arrives in the village, a train carrying untold wealth, a cornucopia of food, and a noble family destined to visit the Tsar in Saint Petersburg — a family that includes Ekaterina, a girl of Elena’s age. When the two girls’ lives collide, an adventure is set in motion, an escapade that includes mistaken identity, a monk locked in a tower, a prince traveling incognito, and — in a starring role only Gregory Maguire could have conjured — Baba Yaga, witch of Russian folklore, in her ambulatory house perched on chicken legs

Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald is an art mystery set in New York.

From the publisher: Only two people know about the masterpiece hidden in the Tenpenny home—and one of them is dead.

The other is Theodora Tenpenny. Theo is responsible for tending the family’s two-hundred-year-old town house, caring for a flock of unwieldy chickens, and supporting her fragile mother, all on her grandfather’s legacy of $463. So, when Theo discovers a painting in the house that looks like a priceless masterpiece, she should be happy about it. But Theo’s late grandfather was a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and if the painting is as valuable as she thinks it is, then her grandfather wasn’t who she thought he was.

With the help of some unusual new friends, Theo’s search for answers takes her all over Manhattan and introduces her to a side of the city—and her grandfather—that she never knew. To solve the mystery, she’ll have to abandon her hard-won self-reliance and build a community, one serendipitous friendship at a time.

Nature’s little helpers

5 Aug

When my niece was little, she believed a little character named Pip lived in the forest around their house.  Here are two books that Pip would really appreciate.

First up we have the wordless Hank Finds and Egg  by Rebecca Dudley.


Hank is out walking one day and encounters an egg on the forest floor. Realizing it belongs in the nest above him, he tries to put it back, but can’t. Finally, he meets someone who can help him. It is a simple story. What makes the book amazing is the art. Dudley makes everything. She creates all the items that go into each photograph, and her attention to detail is impressive. Hank is an endearing character, with only eyes and a nose, yet he manages to evoke great emotion. We have a nature park behind out school and I wonder what to be like to walk through there with young kids pretending to be Hank. I look forward to seeing more for Rebecca Dudley.

On a similar nature theme is Miss Maple’s Seeds, written and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler.


Miss Maple spends the summer collecting orphan seeds and caring for them through the winter. She celebrates the potential that each seed has and, when Spring arrives, she sends them off to find their place in the world. It is a beautiful quiet story about nurturing the potential in others and caring for nature.

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