Written and Illustrated by Anna Walker
Clarion Books, 2014
Peggy lived in a small house on a quiet street.
The plot in a nutshell: A chicken visits the big city.
Peggy is a chicken who enjoys her suburban life in the chicken coop where she eats, plays and watches pigeons. One day, a gust of strong wind blows her into the city. She walks around for a while, investigating all the things that are new to her. But she misses home and has trouble finding any way to get back. Then she sees a girl carrying sunflowers like the one in her yard and she follows her onto a train. When she gets off the train, she’s in an unfamiliar place, but she sees the pigeons and they lead her home. She is happy to be home, where she sometimes hangs out with her new pigeon friends and sometimes she takes the train to visit the city.
I had high hopes for this book based on the awesome title. Happily, I can state that author/illustrator Anna Walker does not disappoint and instead, has written a wonderful story that will appeal to everyone’s inner adventurer. What I love about the story is that Peggy’s adventure is entirely accidental, but instead of being terrified in her new and unfamiliar surroundings and searching for the quickest route home, she pokes around the big city and takes in a wide variety of new experiences. She only looks for a way home when she gets tired and starts to miss it, which is the way it should be for all travels, I think.
The beautiful artwork, in ink and photo collage, shows her trying on clothes, shopping, seeing a movie, trying new foods and (most hilariously) expressing shock at the concept of fried chicken. And when she does make it back home, we see that her life is changed by her adventure and the pigeons that she was once content to watch from her fence are now a part of her everyday life. It’s really cool to see how travelling has expanded her horizon and improved her life, as travel usually does.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that getting pushed out of your comfort zone can often lead to wonderful new discoveries, so be sure to explore while you’re there.