Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The True Story of Cinderella

Last weekend at the Ventura Spring Fling Poultry Show, I met Sandy Hammond, author and illustrator of The True Story of Cinderella. It's about her introduction to keeping chickens.

Enthusiastic but uninformed, she acquires three chicks, two of whom grow up to be roosters. When she exchanges them for two hens, the transition is an adventure. They fly into the neighbors' yards and Sandy wonders whether she can pretend she doesn't have chickens.

She finds the help she needs and tells the story with charm. I look forward to reading this to kids in my circle.

Sandy welcomed her chickens with a sense of humor and an open mind, willing to learn. I'm totally in sympathy, because that's the way I started. I brought home my first chicks and kept them in a laundry basket for the first several weeks. I know that sinking feeling of hearing an unexpected rooster crow.

I advise people to prepare themselves well for chickens, get my books and build their coops and generally use good sense as they take steps into raising chickens. And experience bears me out: chicks often fall victim to chills, incorrect feed, dangerous water, unexpected predators when their new owners aren't prepared.

However, I started knowing as little as Sandy did, and it has worked out for both of us. The fact is, a little common sense on the humans' part and the resilient and forgiving nature on the chickens' part will often get both through to success.

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