The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County by Janice N. Harrington and Shelley Jackson

There are some books that simply defy categorisation because their stories are so original and one-of-a-kind that it’s hard to compare them to others. The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County thus falls into this lofty ‘category of ones’.

In this first-person narrative, the spunky girl in the story proudly tells us about her unusual hobby of chasing the hapless chickens on her grandma’s farm. In fact, she deems herself so skilful at it that she has pronounced herself the ‘Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County’.

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Alas, there is one chicken who always manages to thwart her best efforts: the elusive Miss Hen. As girl and hen match wits and cunning, the reader is sucked into their adventures by the bold, vibrant mixed-media artwork and the lively text written in the girl’s inimitable sassy voice. By the end of the book, however, we see the two former nemeses come to a mutual understanding and grow up in their own ways.

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This is a fun and unique read-aloud book that is full of character, and its inherent spirit and joy are infectious. I also love how it celebrates the carefree and innocent nature of childhood, where the pursuit of seemingly frivolous things (to grown-ups, that is), such as outwitting a pesky chicken, can take utmost priority in the mind of a child.

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