Once Upon a Flock Book Review

Commentary / Illustration / Photography / Writing

Once Upon a Flock Book Review

In the midst of reading Once Upon a Flock, I would catch myself glancing outside into my backyard from time to time. I didn’t really know why I was doing it- I certainly wasn’t bored and I’m not afflicted by ADD- and then it dawned on me: I was trying to picture where a chicken coop might go. Now, I know you don’t know me but the last thing I want in my life is a chicken coop. I don’t even want a dog, despite my love for all things canine, because with two young kids, I don’t want the responsibility of one more living thing.

EggsAnd that’s how good this book is. Here come the adjectives: Heart-warming; adorable; kind-hearted; funny; endearing. Wow- that list might only be appealing to women. Adjectives for guys: Fun; interesting; sporty (not really). Author/illustrator Lauren Scheuer weaves a surprisingly captivating memoir of the bond she has formed with her chickens through words, photographs and colorful, well-crafted illustrations. In fact, as indicated in my opening sentences, the story is so enthralling that I found myself laughing out loud and beginning to care about Lucy, Hatsy and Lil’ White.

Lauren’s style is very warm and engaging; her storytelling is relaxed and without any pretense while her illustrations and photographs help to complete the world she is describing. More than two full pages are devoted to sketches of various coops as Lauren worked out what would best suit her girls. Certainly, the Trojan coop and the Taj Mahal coop would not have been good choices but Lauren didn’t want to leave a stone unturned.

“These chickens were going to be my living lawn ornaments, so color was the first consideration.”

The story takes us on a journey from the author’s desire for a livelier backyard (or was it her desire to conceive and execute a challenging building project?) through choosing breeds based on how nice they might look in the yard. There’s a pause to admire prolific egg production and coop rejiggering, all while sometimes heart-breaking and sometimes heart-warming (but always charming) episodes are recounted for us. And believe it or not but you’ll become invested in those chickens because of Lauren’s sharp observations and her ability to convey their individual personalities. And then you’ll unwittingly find yourself gazing into your own backyard…backyard

This is author Lauren Scheuer’s first book and it had its genesis in her blog Scratch and Peck where she continues to blog about her chickens (it’s sort of the prequel and the sequel to this book, which will please fans of the book).

Pick up Once Upon a Flock at Amazon or anywhere else books are sold. It’s a wonderful read with many funny moments. I’m now reading the book with my seven year old son who loves to laugh at Lauren’s smoothly quirky turns of phrase, comedic situations and fun drawings.

He hasn’t asked me to start a flock yet.

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Illustrations courtesy of and © Lauren Scheuer

2 Comments

  1. helen says:

    Have been following her blog for a while – so glad she got it out in book form too. What a delight to see her work and her love for her chickens.

    • Ed says:

      You’re so right. She does such a nice job with the storytelling that I’m totally a chicken convert now!

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