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The Plot Chickens

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  483 Ratings  ·  117 Reviews
Henrietta loves to read. When she clucks buk, buk, buk at the library, the librarian knows exactly what to recommend. Then Henrietta decides to write a book. With the help of her three aunties, she hatches a plot. But when Henrietta publishes her story, the critics say she's laid an egg! Is this the end of Henrietta's career as an author?
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published February 26th 2009 by Holiday House
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(showing 1-30)
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Lana Krumwiede
I got a good cackle out of this book.

The end. Good story!
Dec 27, 2010 Dolly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Shelves: childrens, library, 2010
We really enjoyed this story! It shows a chicken going to the library for both pleasure reading as well as research; it offers tips on writing a story; and it's a funny story about a chicken. What more could you ask for?!?

The humor was often subtle, but our girls got most of the jokes without me having to explain. I loved the nod to the other stories - a few (The Easter Egg Farm and I Was a Third Grade Bodyguard) were by the author, but others (Nouns And Verbs Have a Field Day, Little Grunt and
Sep 01, 2012 Terri rated it really liked it
I read this little gem while working in the children's library. As an author I was intrigued by the idea of plotting chickens. Auch has written an adorable book about a wannabe chicken author. Writers will get a real cluck out of it and if you have young children this is a great way to share with them what you do. The oil painting and digital art illustrations are bright and fun and I appreciated Henrietta's devastation over bad reviews and rejections. But in the end this fowl author realizes it ...more
April Dawn
Oct 04, 2013 April Dawn rated it it was amazing

Book Title: The Plot Chickens
Short Description of the Book: In this book, Henrietta chicken loves to read so much that she thinks writing a story will be even more fun. She learns all the elements of plot as she tries to write her book.

FOCUS: Narrative Features I would Use in a Mini-Lesson:
1)Plot- This story uses humor to cover the basics of plot and story elements. Henrietta the chicken wants to write an exciting story, so she checks out a book from the library on the rules of writing. These
Nov 18, 2009 Melissa rated it it was amazing
from my blog:

Henrietta is a writing chicken. She uses the book Writing Rules and discusses her story writing process with her chicken aunts, one of whom is slightly deaf.

“Rule One:You need a main character. . .

Rule Two: You need to hatch a plot.

A plot of land? . . .

Rule Three: Give your main character a problem.

I don’t want any problems! . . .

Rule Five: Write what you know. . .

Rule Six: Build suspense.

Build a fence?” (Am I the only one giggling here?)

Apr 03, 2009 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: K and up
Recommended to Rebecca by: Molly
Henrietta the chicken goes through the basic rules of writing a story, including the most difficult part: not ending too soon or having some miraculous act save the main character. I appreciate that she gets a rejection letter, publishes the book herself (complete with a printing press using CMYK color blocks!), then gets a bad review. However, the children at the local library love her story. How true this is.
May 12, 2009 Eileen rated it really liked it
A funny story about a chicken who likes to read and tries her hand at writing. Her story is rejected and does not receive a favorable review from the Corn Book magazine. Nice ideas to use with kids on how to write a story. Henrietta never gives up and does find an appreciative audience for her story.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
A clever way to introduce children to the process of writing a book and publishing it. I love her chicken illustrations! I enjoyed the reference to "The Corn Book Magazine," though I'm sure children wouldn't get it. I also like the fact that Henrietta's story was rejected by the publisher--a very realistic scenario--and that she then chose to self-publish. Recommended!
Dawn Little
A cute picture book that follows Henrietta, a chicken who loves to read and decides that writing must be "eggshilarating." This could be used as a mentor text in Writer's Workshop - guiding children to develop a creative writing piece through the steps Henrietta takes to write her story.
Feb 02, 2010 Sabrina rated it liked it
Shelves: chilrens-books
A story of a librarian who loves to read so she decides to write a book on her own. But when the book gets rejected by publishers she get discouraged and thinks she is a bad writer. Lengthy book. Lots of words. Some kids might find it hard to follow along.
Mar 17, 2016 Meghan rated it liked it
This earned itself an extra star because it had eggcellent chicken puns. But really, It's cute. Would be great to teach how to write a story :-)
Laura Mcclanahan
Nov 10, 2013 Laura Mcclanahan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 544
genre- post modern

This is a beautiful and fun book about a chicken who loves books and aspires to be an author, even though people around town are astonished to see a chicken can even read. The book has a very realistic setting in that people believe animals cannot talk, yet the characters themselves go against the traditional setting- chickens check out books from the library, read books, use type writers and communicate with each other about how to improve a story- all for the story to be reje
Lisa Frase
Apr 21, 2011 Lisa Frase rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Henrietta is a chicken who loves to read, so one day she decides to write a book. Of course, she is just a chicken, so of course the publisher rejects her book. Well, this isn't an ordinary chicken, mind you, she is a chicken who perseveres. Henrietta is a self-publishing chicken, but alas, the review from "The Corn Book Magazine" is not exactly a hit, five stars, or two thumbs up. I won't give away the sweet little ending, but I will tell you there is hope for all writers...even a chicken.

Michele Crouse
Sep 26, 2011 Michele Crouse rated it really liked it
A chicken named Henrietta loved to read books. She loved to read so much that she had read every book on the farm. Henrietta then decides to write a book herself. She found an old type writer on the farm and started typing away, teaching all the chickens how to write a book, like needing a plot, a main character etc. Henrietta sent her story into a publisher, but they hated her book and refused to publish a book written by a chicken. Henrietta brings her book to the librarian "The Corn Book" an ...more
Holy cow, I loved it! This story is hilarious, and clever, while also teaching students how to follow the writing process. The characters were very well written. What especially did it for me was the speech bubbles that give the reader insight into what each of the chickens is adding to the story. Aunt Golda’s input is the best. On every page, she tries to end the story prematurely by saying something like, “Then he eats her. The end. Good story.” Aunt Golda reminds me so much of many of my stud ...more
Erin Reilly-Sanders
Feb 26, 2011 Erin Reilly-Sanders rated it it was ok
While the puns probably provide copious enjoyment for adult audiences, many of them seem like they would go over the heads of children. The text is portrayed in two different fonts, a different one to represent the story within a story but while the type appears on the paper form the typewriter, it hasn't been appropriately skewed and reads like a faux overlay. I am most annoyed by the combination of digital and oil techniques though. They are too similar to provide contrast and don't seem to co ...more
This book is a great illustrated writing guide for kids. I plan on using it that way, in fact! However, the illustrations bothered me more than a little, which is why it received a 3 instead of a 4. The writing gets a 4 instead of a 5 because I thought the interplay between the chickens while Henrietta was writing could have been more dynamic. I liked that the one chicken kept trying to end the story too early, as many children do that already. Being able to make it fun that, no, we're going to ...more
Mar 14, 2016 A rated it liked it
Okay story, really great illustrations. About a chicken name Henrietta who loves to read and ends up writing and illustrating her own story. The reader learns the process of creating a plot while Henrietta does the same. The story is turned down by a publisher and given a horrible review by a library journal, yet the librarian encourages Henrietta still. It is voted the best book of the year by the story hour children. Illustrations are a mixture of pictures and drawings. Good for teaching child ...more
Alexandria Hiam
Okay story, really great illustrations. About a chicken name Henrietta who loves to read and ends up writing and illustrating her own story. The reader learns the process of creating a plot while Henrietta does the same. The story is turned down by a publisher and given a horrible review by a library journal, yet the librarian encourages Henrietta still. It is voted the best book of the year by the story hour children. Illustrations are a mixture of pictures and drawings. Good for teaching child ...more
Paula Griffith
Jul 18, 2011 Paula Griffith rated it it was amazing
ATTENTION: all teachers who teach writing--you must have this book! This is a funny telling of how Henrietta loves to read and rationalizes that if books are this good, writing must be fabulous. She sets out to write a book while reading a style guide that describes how to write stories. She undauntingly finishes her story amdist all kinds of advice, but the writing process is not over until it is over. Teachers and student alike will enjoy this take on writing for publication. Younger children ...more
Rima Aroutiounian
May 27, 2014 Rima Aroutiounian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1
This book is about a hen who loves to read and goes to a library to get a book, the library says, "Oh you should go to a feed library" the hen tells her, "bum, bum," then the librarian understands her and lends her some books. This is where the whole story starts, where Henrietta wonders about writing and what is put in a good story, a character, plot and end. This teaches the children about what stories have and when they will write what it should have, a beginning, middle and an end. Good book ...more
Chris Young
Jun 15, 2011 Chris Young rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Henrietta loves reading books so much she decides to write one herself. She checks out a book about writing from the library about how to write a book and then goes through the process of submitting her manuscript to publishers, facing rejection and poor reviews, and finally finding an audience that connects with her work. Chickens get me every time, and this book is no exception. It's a goofy introduction to the writer's process, but it accurately portrays the guts and perseverance it takes to ...more
Apr 04, 2011 Laura rated it really liked it
So much fun! Henrietta the chicken visits the library and gets a book about how to write her own book. She follows each rule to write a pretty terrible story about a chicken. She even submits it to Corn Book for a review! While there is a certain amount of word play in this book, it's well done and children who don't get the jokes will still understand the text. The librarian I'm working with performed this as a great read aloud, fully committing to the chicken's Buk! Buk! A great story for kids ...more
May 05, 2010 Anykidcanwrite rated it really liked it
When Henrietta the chicken runs out of books to read, she heads into the town library. Excited by the books she reads, she decides to write a book! All the other chickens on the farm want to be the characters in her book until they learn that characters have problems. As Henrietta types her story, readers find out how a book is made and published.

Your Turn to Write: Henrietta needs to write another book for the children at story hour. What happens when she tries to write a sequel?
Apr 18, 2016 Julie rated it it was amazing
This is a fun, clever book that would be good to teach about how to write, and the process of trying to get published and reviewed. I could see this being used for 2-5th graders, although even younger kids could like it although they wouldn't understand the publishing portion.
It isn't just a sunshine and butterflies picture book. Henrietta is told, "This is why chickens shouldn't write!"
Rejection is a big part of being a writer, and it's brought up in a humorous way.
Nov 19, 2013 Tori rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ch-02-award
This book is about a chicken who loves to read and wants to write a book. She ended up teaching other chickens to write as well. When she finishes her book, she sends it to be publishes except they refuse to publish a book written by a chicken. I really enjoyed this book because it was funny that a chicken was trying to write a book. Children will enjoy this as well because the pictures are colorful and go along with the text.
Henrietta is back and this time her love of reading has started her on the path to write her own story. Her aunts give her encouragement and mixed advice about what would make a good story.

Why I picked it up: The title grabbed me. And Henrietta the reading and now writing chicken is a great character.

Why I finished it: The puns, silliness and good advice continue in this book. This is a great primer for any kid who wants to be an author... or for anyone who likes a good story.
Amber Adams
Feb 11, 2013 Amber Adams rated it liked it
This book talks about Henrietta the chicken, who loves to read. After reading an exciting book, Henrietta decided to write a book of her own. She enlists the help of her three aunties in order to hatch a plot. While writing her book, she explains the steps of the writing process. This comical book can be used to help explain how to compose stories and papers. This would be used in my older grades. (3-5)
Mar 22, 2013 Rochelle rated it it was amazing
Incredible but true, students are more into taking advise from a CHICKEN than from their teacher! Henrietta loves to read and decides to write her own stories. What happens next is a look into the writing process as well as the hard business of publishing, followed by the basic truth of why writers write.

I love Henrietta, she gives my young authors great advise that they love to follow while writing their own stories, that may not necessarily involve chickens.
Kirsten Murphy
More of a book to be used for teacher direction, as it clearly outlines the components needed in writing, illustrating, and publishing a story.

The author and illustrator (husband and wife team) have created several chicken parodies that could be pulled together for use when discussing figurative language... or chickens!
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Mary Jane Auch also writes as MJ Auch.

The thought of becoming a writer never occurred to MJ Auch as a child. Her only literary efforts in those days were the plays which she and her girlfriend, Noreen, wrote for their marionettes. They produced these extravaganzas in Noreen’s garage and organized the neighborhood boys into a sales force to sell tickets and refreshments.

Summer visits to both of MJ’
More about Mary Jane Auch...

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