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Sonya's Chickens

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  677 ratings  ·  151 reviews
Sonya raises her three chickens from the time they are tiny chicks. She feeds them, shelters them and loves them. Everywhere Sonya goes, her chicks are peeping at her heels. Under her care, the chicks grow into hens and even give Sonya a wonderful gift: an egg! One night, Sonya hears noises coming from the chicken coop and discovers that one of her hens has disappeared. Wh ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published August 11th 2015 by Tundra Books
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Average rating 4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  677 ratings  ·  151 reviews

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Jun 04, 2015 rated it liked it
I have some mixed thoughts about this book.
I really like the nurturing aspect of this book. Sonya loved and cared for her baby chicks and they grew up and began laying eggs of their own. She cared for them like any mother cares for her children. I also liked that the family was multiracial. (You don't often see that in books that aren't about family or race.)
An incident causes Sonya to learn about the food chain. While a part of life, it makes this book more appropriate for older children, not
Ellie L
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wahl provides a insight into the cycle of life and death in this gentle story of loss and acceptance. After caring for and lovingly watching her trio of chickens grow up, Sonya is angry, hurt and confused when a fox claims one of them in the night. Here, she leans of how living things are connected to one another; and that sometimes life can only continue by taking from another. What is so excellent about this story is how well Wahl conveys this message through comparing human life with animal l ...more
Abbie Stagg
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A heart-warming book, about a girl and her love for the chickens. This is first hinted when looking closely at the front cover, as it shows a picture of Sonya and her chickens, with a ring of flowers around them in the shape of a heart, displaying the love she has for them. However, one day after being attacked by a fox, one of the chickens is killed, breaking young Sonya's heart. However, Sonya's dad tells her why it happened, and how the fox needed to provide for its family just like us humans ...more
Sonya loves her chickens. One night, a fox eats one of her beloved friends. In conversation with her father, she learns that it’s right to mourn her loss, but also learns about why such things happen and that foxes are predators to take care of themselves and their families.

The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous, and I really appreciated this gentle but unglossed lesson on the facts of life. I was worried that my preschooler would find it upsetting, but she took it all in, and while she seeme
Nov 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I purchased this book because I have been following Phoebe Wahl's artwork for a long time. As an aspiring children's illustrator, I wanted to see how she put her book together- and it's amazing. 1000/10 for the creative collaged illustrations. I was so excited to find out that the dust jacket could be reversed & turned into a poster- which I now have hanging in my studio. What a great idea!

I'm planning on sending this story to Remy, who has regular fox visitors in his backyard down in Novato. I
I won this book through a giveaway on

I absolutely loved the illustrations in this book! A mixture of collages and paintings that tell the story beautifully. Sonya's Chickens is a wonderful story for teaching children about death and grief.
I liked that Sonya's father didn't portray the fox as an evil villain, but an animal striving to provide for their children. There is sorrow in death, but it's nice to learn that things happen
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful story. Sonya is raising and loves her 3 chickens, but is dismayed when one night a fox gets into the henhouse and takes one of them. Her father gently explains that the fox is raising its own kits and is doing its best to feed its family. A sweet look at nature's cycles, while still acknowledging the care and love of a pet and that mourning its loss is natural, too. The art is gorgeous, with rich colors made with collage, watercolor, and colored pencil. Bonus that the book shows a mult ...more
A realistic and heartfelt tale of a young girl trying to raise chickens.
Juli Anna
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A lovely meditation on care, death, and cycles. Wahl is my new favorite illustrator, and her collages are vibrant and detailed in a way kids love. Beautiful.
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: september2019
I was not ready for the feels. RIP chicken. ;(
Calvin Read
Feb 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
*singing* It's the ciiiircle of liiiiife... ...more
Rachael Terry
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Great story about a child learning to take care of her own chickens and learning about food chain/life cycle. Realistic story, pretty illustrations.
I saw this on *Netgalley and was excited by both the cover and the description. It sounded like it was going to be a good read.

Sonya's papa gives her three baby chickens. Sonya does her best to feed and care for all three. But one night loud noises come from the chicken coop. When Sonya goes out to investigate she finds one of her chickens missing.

Ok the illustrations in this are so rich and amazing. The deep colors and drawing styles remind me a bit of Van Gogh. It was just a wonderful piece of
Oct 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Sonya raises chickens and despite her excellent care, one night they are disturbed by a predator and she loses one. Her parents help her understand the loss and how all creatures on the earth are tasked with providing for their loved ones as best as they can, which helps her make peace with the event and move forward.

I really like the way life and death in the animal kingdom was handled here, especially how it involved looking at the situation from multiple perspectives as a way of understanding
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Circle of life in the wild at a kid-friendly level - Sonya has the responsibility of raising her family's chickens and she does everything she can to make sure they are happy and have a full belly and a warm place to sleep. Until a (view spoiler) ...more
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
The illustrations drew me to pick up this book. Sonya is given three baby chicks to care for, which she lovingly does, as they grow into adults. When one is killed by a fox, her dad explains to her that the fox only did so to feed his own children. This is a great explanation of the life cycle and predator/prey without being too preachy, and includes a discussion-worthy "celebration" of the dead chicken's life. Gentle ending - an egg hatches (another jumping off point for cycle of life discussio ...more
Dec 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Sonya learns about the circle of life caring for chickens on her family farm. Vibrant and detailed illustrations especially in the clothes and other fabrics- "Sonya's sweaters" is a spinoff I would definitely read. This book deals with the painful subject of losing a loved one in a comforting and gentle way. I love that it assumes the best intentions of those who do us wrong :"What might seem unfair to you might make sense to a fox"... a good lesson for us all.

Carly Brown
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
What a sweet book! I absolutely loved this story and believe the author and illustrator, Phoebe Wahl, does an excellent job at utilizing this book to showcase the importance of empathy. When one of Sonya’s chickens was taken by a fox, her father encouraged her to think about why the fox took her chicken. The fox had a family, and he likely took the fox to bring a big meal home to his kits. While reading this book, I felt empathetic for Sonya because I knew she loved all of her chickens; however, ...more
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sonya lives with her family on their farm. Her papa brings home three fluffy chicks one day and gives them to Sonya. He tells her she will be the one to take care of them. She is proud to be their mama. They quickly grew into hens and one laid her first egg. One night, she heard a squawking outside and she saw that one chicken was missing. She cried to her papa and asked, "What took her? A fox? Did it kill her? It's not FAIR!" Her papa explains that what seems unfair to Sonya might make sense to ...more
Feb 18, 2021 rated it it was ok
Although I love the illustrations and the theme of learning about the cycle of life and the food chain, I think this book is really grim. Kids can certainly learn hard lessons from books, but this one feels like a punch in the face. Sonja takes good care of her chickens, treats them like they are her children. Then the fox enters the picture. Her father explains that the fox is just doing what foxes do to provide for their own children. Ok, fine. What got me is when the father says, "I know you ...more
Ramon Requena
Jun 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 230
This story is about Sonja who is given the responsibility of taking care of new chickens. After some time caring for them, one of them is taken by a fox so then Sonja is to learn about how animals live and how life works in nature. This book is good in terms of the lesson it teaches to young readers.
The media used in this book is water color and the detail achieved by this makes the art look like it stands out. The art in each page gives a soft yet crisp identity to each of the characters shown.
Jul 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really admire it, but I’m also totally fascinated ... This book has 857 words, does lots of “telling” and the pictures don’t add meaning to the story that isn’t present in the text. So, it pretty much breaks all the rules of modern picture book. I enjoyed it immensely, but if I had guessed the publication date, I might have said the 90’s rather than 2015 based on this.

I’m super curious how this happened. Was it the strength of the illustrations that sold this project, or did the agent and edi
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Honestly, I had a lot of fun with this book. It reminded me of the chickens on my nana's farm, and the one legged one I claimed as mine. It's definitely a little longer, which would make it better for kids that were 5+.

It's about Sonya's father bringing 3 chicks home, and her taking care of them until they were properly grown, there is some loss in this story, and not only does it try to teach responsibility but also how sometimes nature doesn't seem fair through our eyes, but it is understandab
Hayley DeRoche
What an understated treasure of a book. This book has everything:

-A multiracial family without it ever being part of the "genre" or theme of the greater story; these characters are allowed to simply be
-Lovely illustrations
-The love and care of a girl for her chickens
-The love and care of a father as he helps his grieving daughter over the loss of a beloved chicken, and who paints a large picture of why the fox did it, explaining the circle of life to her in a way that resonates with a young chil
Maria Rowe
Apr 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I think I spent a lot more time Googling what the author’s note meant by “unschooling” - a term I’d never heard before - than actually reading this (short) book. Ah, the book. The art reminds me a bit of folk art. The story is decent - Sonya loves her three chickens, but one night a fox eats one. Sonya’s father tells her that while it might not seem fair, that the fox is probably looking out for its family and trying to feed its babies. I wasn’t particularly intrigued by the story, but the illus ...more
Joy Reinbold
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-baby
I have long been a fan of Wahl's artwork, so when I saw she had a children's book about chickens, I was delighted! As a chicken owner, I appreciated the accuracy of the details both in the story and in the artwork.

The story wasn't quite right for my purposes at the moment (a preschool story time--the story is a little long and a little dark for preschoolers in a large group setting), but I am very much looking forward to reading this story to my own little one in a few years. I very much apprec
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This book is a brilliant book for year 1/2. I am currently using it for our English text on placement and we have done so much with it! We started by writing diary entries from Sonyas point of view, describing the characters, doing some drama based on the feelings of the characters, doing wanted posters for the fox and looking at storyboards along with lots of grammar! I have used it cross-curricular in science by looking at materials for the chicks habitat and the seasons when fox’s/chickens ar ...more
This is a gentle introduction to the circle-of-life for the young elementary/older preschool age crowd. Sonya and her parents all model loving, nurturing behavior. Her father's compassion and patience is beautiful. I also enjoyed that the family is multi-racial even when that's not what the story is about. One thing to consider: the idea of a fox eating Sonya's chickens may be a little much for a sensitive preschooler so consider your audience. ...more
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is a very beautiful book that gently discusses the life cycles of animals and the natural world. The artwork is just gorgeous and the story is very touching. Sonya takes care of her 3 chickens with her family and raises them from eggs. One night a fox gets into the barn where the chickens were and Sonya has to come to terms with the fact that one of her chickens is never coming back. Her father comforts her by telling her the fox may have taken the chicken to feed babies of their own. Soon ...more
Kari Whitesell
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
The touching story of a little girl who raises 3 chickens, and takes her job very seriously. One night a fox comes into the pen and takes one of the chickens. We know Sonya is in a lot of pain, grieving over her lost chicken. Her father steps in to explain a few life lessons, that gives her (and us) a different perspective on the sad event.
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