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Bitter with Baggage Seeks Same: The Life and Times of Some Chickens

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  543 ratings  ·  101 reviews
Chickens show off their human side in Sloane Tanen's irresistible dioramas.

With more personality than most people have to spare, New York artist Sloane Tanen's tiny yellow chickens negotiate the tricky modern world, filled with three-headed blind dates, menacing KFCs, playground popularity battles, and annoyingly crowded yoga classes. They perch amid doll furniture, in sce
Hardcover, 74 pages
Published 2003 by Bloomsbury
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Average rating 4.31  · 
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 ·  543 ratings  ·  101 reviews

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Dec 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: olio
I loved this book.

A few years ago I asked for a copy of the "chick book" for Christmas. It reminds me a little bit of Anne Taintor, but, you know, with chickens.
Anna Richland
Feb 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020, chickens
This is in the genre I'd call "adult picture book." It's cute, but not quite memorable enough. One thing I found really interesting was comparing the photo spreads with the mini dioramas of the same image that are on the endpapers. They seem to have been changed quite a bit before being shot for the book.
Oct 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people with a wicked sense of humor
Shelves: laughoutloud
It's hard to describe this book without just handing it to you and sitting back to watch your reaction, because I tell you, I'd love to watch every single person I know read it. It's so hysterical.

Sloane Tanen is a visual artist in New York City. She makes these little shadow boxes with plastic chickens that live out modern day situations, both normal and fantastical.

In one, a chick is sitting on a bed facing a little frog, who is wearing a crown. The caption reads "Anastasia was through makin
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Chicks portrayed humorously.
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Not everyone's sense of humor, but certainly mine. Kids didn't get it, but I laughed and laughed.

It's tough explaining this book to someone who hasn't seen it: "See, she takes these little toy fluffy chicks and surrounds them with props and sets the scenes and takes pictures of them, then writes these captions...". About this time, the person you're talking to (my husband) gives you a strange look and you say, weakly, "It's not for everyone..."
Mar 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Those tiny chenille chicks you see for sale at craft and knickknack stores every Easter season get outsize personalities in this bizarre and funny book. It's hard to describe just how weird this gets at times, and I can't help but wonder at the looks the artist must have received when buying hundreds upon hundreds of tiny toy chickens.
Jun 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
The fact that this woman makes money off of designing little sets with little chickens and photographing them and putting them in books with funny quotes makes me jealous. I want to do that.
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sloane-tanen
I bought this book for my sister (the chicken lady). But after reading it, I don't think I want to give it up yet. I need to keep it on the coffee table and share the humor with everyone. Inside the book cover are numerous photos of dioramas. Each page is a cute paragraph with a scene of a fluffy wire chick in various situations. Fabulous!
Laura Ostermeyer
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book that must be read, with photographs of incredible dioramas, that must be seen to truly be appreciated! I don't think I've laughed as hard in ages while reading a book! As an avid miniaturist, with a warped sense of humor, this book struck a chord with me. I highly suggest getting a copy and can't wait to get my hands on her other works! BRILLIANT!
Jan 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-tangible
Cute and occasionally funny. I definitely have a few favourite panels and I enjoyed studying each scene. It was fun to see reoccurring characters and props throughout the book as well. It's a nice coffee table book for visitors to flip through.
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Some pictures made me smile. Perhaps you need to be high and/or drunk to really appreciate it.
Julianne Burk
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! 5 stars for innovating with chickens!
Tracy Dorsett
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: enjoyed
Read these books several years ago. They made me laugh until I had tears in my eyes. I will loan them out to special people, but I always make sure I get them back.
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love the dioramas - they're so creative!
Teresa Medeiros
Jan 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I first fell in love with Sloane Tanen’s work when I read the caption above a photo with a little chicken sitting on a swing set and peering around the playground: “Samantha looked around the playground in amazement. Her mother had been right. She really WAS the smartest and the prettiest.” Now I ask you--has there ever been a more apt mascot for me and some of my equally ambitious writer friends?

If you thought you had to give up picture books when you graduated from second grade, have I got a
Sep 28, 2014 rated it liked it
This is certainly not fine literature, more of a tongue in cheek collection of artworks and scenarios with baby chickens telling crazy tales. It was definitely good for flipping through with my sister and laughing at many of the pages. :p

Some of my favorites:
A chicken with another between her legs in what looks like a tiny dentist chair with the caption: Had Saffron fully grasped the excruciating pains of childbirth she would have insisted on the epidural from the first. What cared what the midw
Sep 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Scoop:

What's there to say? Sloane Tanen creates super cute dioramas featuring super cute chicks in entertaining situations.

My Thoughts:

I first came across this book by way of her children's books. And, really, who doesn't think chicks aren't cute? Not me. I love chickens. I'll prove it--just look at my own personal flock:

Anyway, this is a cute, clever, quick read that packs a punch and not a few laughs. It usually takes a bit for me to work up the energy (or the appreciation) to let loose wi
Dec 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Punk by: Sab
Shelves: picture-book
Picture Book. Does what it says on the box -- dioramas of some chickens, with funny captions. The pictures are great, fun for looking at, or, if you're like me, for squinting at and thinking, "I bet she used hair gel for the water..." The captions are funny or sad, or both. My favorite: "Anastasia was through making out with Ian. He was never going to change." Ian, here, is a frog. The tone -- dry, flippant, and reminiscent of Anne Taintor -- makes this book a keeper.

Five stars for awesomeness.
Jun 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I never knew I could laugh so hard at pipe cleaners! Mildly inappropriate, what appears at first glance to be a children's picture book, was definitely not written for children. Join Coco, Cinderella, and all their friends as they whine, bitch, and complain about their lot in life. There's a chicken serial killer, a vengeful toddler in a playpen (think Stewie as a chicken), and the proverbial "which came first" discussion.

I hear that the author, SloaneTanen, actually sells the dioramas. I would
Jun 05, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: art
This book was really kind of dumb. It was on display for the my library's adult summer reading program, and it looked kind of fun, so I borrowed it. What a dud!

The book consists of photographs of shadow box type installations in which fake fluffy yellow chicks do human things, expression human emotions. I wish there had been some context to the fluffy chick installations. Why were they done? Why of why? What do they mean? What are they for?

Is this art? Really?
Mary Cartledgehayes
Sep 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, humor
Peeps photo-ops. Who knew what all they were up to? The cleverness of the staging is matched by the accompanying text.

My favorite: A bed with a linen coverlet. Beside is a wooden chest of drawers upon which is a candle in a candlestick. At the head of the bed is the wide-eyed, long-eyelashed peep, wearing a crown. In front of her? One frog, green.

The text: Anastasia was through making out with Ian. He was never going to change.

Pure fun.
Jun 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
If you have not seen this series you are missing out on some pretty funny artwork projects using chickens. My little niece thinks the pictures are great, I just don't read her the *very adult* captions below them. The author hits the nail on the head when it comes to women of today's generation in NYC. I can't say how many times I've re-read these or shown them to other people.
Oct 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: new-fiction
I hope no one misfiles this in the Children's Section thinking it's a picture book. I came across it in Young Adult, and am not sure it belongs there (though my 17 year old daughter read it with me and loved it). Totally bizarre! One can explain, but it would defeat the purpose--you just have to see it. Great title.
Aug 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I received this book as a gift from a clinical supervisor I had during undergrad and I will treasure it always. I can't express how hilarious this book is. Not only is the finished product amazing, but picturing the author producing these ridiculous chicken dioramas makes me cackle uncontrollably (a birthing scene!? amazing). I would frame and hang some if I didn't love the book so much.
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
This is such a great wacky little book! Both the photographs & texts are guaranteed to put a smile on anyone's face:) Ok, so the idea of photographing plastic chicks surrounded by doll house furniture might sound strange but the book is really, really funny! I just laugh every time I pick it up and look at the images:) ...more
May 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
I bought this book when it first came out in 2003 because I love chenille chickens. I’m rereading through a lot of the books in my bookcase at home. This book really is bitter – and angry, and unhappy. I don't need that kind of negativity in my life. Chenille chicks or no, off to the library book sale it goes.
May 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
my friend kathi gave me this after a major transition in my life and i'm a huge sloane tanen fan (her dad wrote ferris bueller's day off -- and named the girlfriend after sloane). anyhow, i've bought more copies of her books as gifts for friends. and the kids books are AWESOME.
May 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The Bitter With Baggage books are beyond hilarious. They feature pipe-cleaner chickens in all sorts of compromising predicaments that are pee-in-your-pants funny. There is also stationary and another book specifically for mothers. Am a HUGE fan!
Aug 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Very, very, very funny! Unless of course it is a representation of your life, then it's still kind of funny, but also a little sad. The pictures in this book are a riot. I bought it for a divorced friend to help make her laugh again.
Aug 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Niki by: Gord
This book is the greatest. It's essentially these tiny chicken chicks set up in these great scenes, at yoga, in bed, at the salon, with snarky little comments written on the page. Flip through the book, it's pretty fabulous.
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Author of nine books including Bitter With Baggage Seeks Same--being re-released by Bloomsbury January, 2019. New novel There's A Word For That, coming from Little, Brown on April, 2019

Instagram: sloane.tanen

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