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Book Review – Chicken Scratches by Lynn Brunelle

Does chicken poetry crack you up and you just can’t find enough?

Are you looking to pluck that perfect poetic little nugget of rhythm and rhyme to share at your next gathering?

Maybe you’re aching for that perfect collection of poems to unruffle the feathers of your little grand chicks before they snuggle in for bed or to send them winging joyfully into the world of words?

Wait no longer. Chicken Scratches has finally hatched and flown the coop.

CHICKEN SCRATCHES is a flock of poems by award winning authors Lynn Brunelle and George Shannon giving charming visual peeps into the lives of these fairest of fowls. There are chicken stories and songs to get your gizzard jiggling and your drumsticks tapping. And even more to tickle and twist your tongue!

Some are couplets, some are cross-rhymed, there’s even a limerick or two in the collection. “Hula Zelda” is borderline risqué for a children’s book collection, since Zelda is known for her power to drive the roosters crazy with her hula dancing (” . . . wearing a grass skirt.”). “Time Traveler” (which discusses how chickens evolved from the dinosaurs) and “Yummy in My Tummy Bugs” (which talks about chickens scratching for bugs), while funny, include factual information about actual chickens.

As adorably absurd as chickens themselves, this book of charming illustrations and laugh-out-loud funny poultry poems will appeal to anyone with a fowl sense of humor!

From Chickie Teriyaki to Hula Zelda and a host of fine feathered phrasings in between, CHICKEN SCRATCHES is more fun than a fricassee!

Chicken Scratches: Grade A Poultry Poetry and Rooster Rhymes

Chronicle Books, 2010

Poetry, ages 5 and up

32 pages

Sample poem:

Hula Zelda

Hula Zelda was a dancer.

Brother! Could she shimmy?

Up and down, she’d twist around

And wiggle every limb-y.

She put the WOW in Luau

As she hula-ed through each night.

And when she clucked ALOHA

Roosters crowed in sheer delight.

She loved the island rhythms

So much it sometimes hurt.

And every egg that Zelda laid

Came wearing a grass skirt!


A four-time Emmy Award-winning writer for “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” Lynn Brunelle has over 25 years experience writing. Previously a classroom science, English and art teacher for kids K-12, an editor, illustrator, and award-winning author of over 40 titles, Lynn has created, developed and written projects for Chronicle, Workman, National Geographic, Scholastic, Random House, Penguin, A&E, The Discovery Channel, Disney, ABC TV, NPR, The Annenburg Foundation, World Almanac, Cranium and PBS.

She started writing for children while working as an editor at Scientific American Books for Young Readers (and later at Workman), where she identified a need for more fun and genuinely appealing science books for kids, and started writing them herself. “I want people to be using my books to learn for fun,” she has said. “I love the idea of igniting a passion in kids and adults.”

Since leaving New York for the Seattle area, Brunelle’s projects range across all media from Cranium board games, World Almanac Puzzler Decks and the popular Brainquest series to Pop Bottle Science, “Bill Nye the Science Guy” and “Travels to the Edge with Art Wolfe,” which won the American Broadcasting Award 2009. She has recently written a series of lively animated interstitial songs for All Terrain Brain (allterrainbrain.com) from Three Chicks Media and the Kauffman Foundation that introduce entrepreneurial concepts to kids in a fun and accessible way. A regular contributor to NPR’s Science Friday, she has also written for several children’s and parenting magazines.

She lives on an evergreen-encrusted island near Seattle with her adorable husband, two wonderful sons, two sassy cats and a couple of enthusiastic dogs. Please see www.lynnbrunelle.com for more information.

Most Recent Books by Lynn Brunelle

Chicken Scratches: Poultry Poetry and Rooster Rhymes with George Shannon from Chronicle Books 2010

Why Did I Buy This Book-Puzzlers and Brainteasers to Keep Your (adult) Brain Sharp Chronicle Books 2009

Zoo’s Shoes, Workman Publishing

Camp Out: The Ultimate Kids’ Guide Workman Publishing

Pop Bottle Science: 79 science Experiments You Can Do in a Plastic Soda Pop Bottle, Workman Publishing

World Almanac for Kids Puzzler Decks, Chronicle Books

Mama’s Little Book of Tricks, Chronicle Books

Yoga for Chickens, Chronicle Books

Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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