Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Sonya's Chickens by Phoebe Wahl

This is a darling book. I first saw her work at Phoebe Wahl works with Amanda Blake Soule on Taproot magazine. And Taproot's calendar. It is a somewhat primitive, lush style that I love! It doesn't hurt that Wahl lives in the Pacific Northwest, which is a gorgeous backdrop to her pictures. 

This is a tender little story of a farm girl learning to care for animals and her father helping her come to grips with the harsh side of nature.

Endpaper love!

New chicks! Sonya decides to be a marvelous mother to her three chick. 

She nurtures them and cares for them. 

Can we talk about the colors in that room? I love that room! I need more vivid color in my life. I am generally pretty timid with color. Although I do have a laundry room that shade of green...

Sonya was a good momma to her chicks. And they loved her.

Putting eggs next to your cheek is not something I would encourage everyone to do. I have seen some pretty icky eggs. Still, if they are clean, it seems like a lovely thing to do.

And every night, Sonya makes sure her hens are safe and snug in their house before going inside to be safe and snug in her house.

I like the interracial family. I like that that is just a fact in the book, not something to take apart and dissect. I understand the importance of those books, but I also like books that make race just a part of the backdrop for the story. 

But alas, alack, even after all her careful attention, a chicken is taken one night. Sonya is woken by the noise and goes out to investigate.

Sonya burst into tears. Before she knew it, strong arms scooped her up and she cried into her papa's beard. 

What a good daddy!

Her father brings her in and talks to her about fox ethics. 

"What might seem unfair to you might make sense to a fox."

He tells Sonya about a poor father fox who goes out every night, spending a lot of time and energy trying to find food to feed his hungry family. Then one night he discovers a loose board in the henhouse and finds a quick and easy way to feed his family. He doesn't know Sonya. He doesn't care about the hen's feelings. He is consumed with feeding his babies. 

He takes the chicken home and the little kits, with a full up belly, curl up for nights rest. That fox is just doing what Sonya's Papa does for her--making sure she has a full belly and a warm place to sleep. 

Sonya is comforted by this logic. 

But she still misses her chicken. So they mark a little spot on the ground and remembered their chicken.

"A bird who was loved," Sonya's mother said, giving her a kiss. 
Sonya's heart was heavy. But as she mourned her chicken, the thought too of the happy baby foxes living deep in the woods.

Papa fixes the hole in the henhouse with Sonya's help.

And one day, there is a new egg.

And Sonya had a third chick once again. 

"I will be your mama," she said. "I will do everything I can to make sure you are happy and have a full belly and a warm place to sleep."

And she did.


  1. Awesome! It's such a gorgeous book. I wish I would have checked it out a month or two earlier, so I could have brought it to school for my little one's class. Phoebe Wahl's next one isn't due until 2018, but it's called Backyard Fairies, which sounds too perfect.

    1. oooh! That sounds like a fun one! Will have to keep my eye on that one!