Gracie’s Summer Reading List…“We Don’t Eat Our Classmates” by Ryan T. Higgins

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates

When I think about the time spent reading our last book, A Wrinkle In Time, to my chickens, I believe I’ve spent just as much time reading and rereading this short picture book to them. I don’t mind though because this book is delightful. It makes me say, “I wish I had written that!”

Penelope is a young dinosaur who goes to school for the first time. She is a Tyrannosaurus Rex, known as great hunters. All of my chickens could relate to that because they are all excellent worm and bug hunters. They could not relate to school because even though we live only three blocks from an elementary school, chickens are not allowed to be students.

“Penelope is a very fortunate girl to be able to go to school. I like how she has problems just like everyone else. It’s nice how she has her own bedroom. Sometimes I wonder what that would be like. She looks really cute in her pink overalls too.” – Gracie

“I liked Penelope’s teacher. She was very accepting and fair towards Penelope, even when she ate all of her classmates. Oops! I probably shouldn’t have said that. I don’t want to give the story away. Walter was hilarious! Oops! There I go again!” – Bessie

“I would really like to have a backpack just like Penelope’s. It has ponies on it. Who doesn’t like ponies? But seriously, I can really understand how hard she tried to fit in and stay out of trouble. I would be her friend for sure. – Pearl

“One of my favorite parts was when Penelope got to do finger painting with her class. I would like to do that even though I don’t have fingers. Is there such a thing as feather painting? She had a hard time making friends even though she was the biggest in her class. I thought that was interesting because I had a hard time making friends too and I’m the smallest.” – Emily

“To be honest, I thought this was a deeply philosophical book which challenged my moral beliefs. It made me ponder the possibility of being the only chicken in a classroom filled with worms. Would my teacher tell me, ‘We don’t eat our classmates’? And if so, what would I do? Penelope definitely faced a real dilemma.” – Amelia

“We Don’t Eat Our Classmates” is suitable for ages 3 to  5, but there are plenty of chuckles for every age group. This picture book  is available through Barnes and Noble. The regular price is $17.99, however Barnes & Noble is offering it for less. Summertime discount codes offer additional savings.

Just so you know, “My Life With Gracie” isn’t getting anything from sharing this book with you. We don’t collect anything if you click the link here. Some websites work that way, but for us, it’s about reading. Children (and chickens) need to read and be read to, whether it’s what we write or not!

Gracie’s Summer Reading List…“A Wrinkle In Time” by Madeleine L’Engle

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle

To tell the truth, recently was the first time that I’ve ever read this book on my own. I only read it again because I remembered the way it made me feel, and I wanted to feel that way again. I wanted my chickens to feel that way, or whatever way this wonderful book might make them feel.

This book was first read to me fifty years ago when I was in the sixth grade. Mrs. Kitchen was our Language Arts teacher and also our “home room” teacher. The school was Wakefield Elementary School which had actually been a high school when I started attending there in first grade. Her room was in the basement which had thick concrete walls to help keep it extra cool in the warmer months. The other rooms on the first and second floors had huge windows to let in breezes.

Mrs. Kitchen’s daughter, Mary Ann, had been in my class up until third grade when she was killed in a car accident by a drunken driver. All I remember about her was that she was one of the sweetest and prettiest girls in our class and always had the right answers. I think Mrs. Kitchen may have had a hard time when our class made it to sixth grade because it may have brought back painful memories, but she never let it show.

There are only a few things I remember about sixth grade, and this book is one of them. Honestly, I did not remember anything about the plot other than it is about three children who took a trip in time and had some adventures. What I remember much more than that sketchy bit is how this book made me feel somehow understood even though no one appeared to understand me. Perhaps this is best summarized in the theme of the book as stated by Meg, the main character, “Like and equal are not the same thing at all!” This book is about the value of being an individual.

“This story took longer than any of the others so far, but I liked it and could sit still for each chapter. The cover was interesting, and I wanted to know more about the story just from the cover because it had three children flying through the air like chickens and a horse with chicken wings carrying the children somewhere.” – Gracie

“If we ever get into a situation like the one that the children were in, I think I will know what to do. (And chickens do get into some strange situations!) I was a little disappointed that none of the characters were chickens. I mean, they could have been, especially Mrs Whatsit and Mrs Who and Mrs Which because they could take on just about any appearance they wanted, I think. Oh, well, it was still an interesting story.” – Bessie

“To be totally honest, I was a little unsure about what it said on the cover about ‘Now a Major Motion Picture’ because who knows what that means. I’ve never seen or heard a Motion Picture, Major or Minor…or Flat or Sharp for that matter. But I did like the gold medal on the cover because it was shiny and bright! It’s a John Newberry Medal for having a good story, and I can completely agree with that!” – Pearl

“I think Mrs Who was my favorite of the three mysterious ladies in the story. She had glasses that let her and Meg, the main character, see things that other people couldn’t see. That’s a lot like me and my drawings because they let me do things I wouldn’t be able to do any other way. There were also some helpful pictures with an ant to explain what a ‘wrinkle in time’ is like. Drawings help explain difficult things too.” – Emily

“I like that a girl got to be the main character and save the day in this book. The boys that went with her on their journey in time had their own special powers and gifts that helped, but Meg was the one who ultimately made everything right. She didn’t make the boys look stupid or bad or anything like that. She didn’t have to look pretty or be mean or sassy. She just had to be herself. She saved her father and her brother and probably everybody else too. I would like to be like Meg.” – Amelia

“A Wrinkle In Time” is suitable for ages 8 to 12 and is available through Barnes and Noble. The price on the back of the book is $6.99, however Barnes & Noble is offering it for less. Summertime discount codes offer additional savings. By the way, Barnes & Noble is offering “We Don’t Eat Our Classmates” at a special price with the purchase of this or other books. This picture book by Ryan T. Higgins will be our next on Gracie’s Summer Reading List! (It is hilarious!)

Just so you know, “My Life With Gracie” isn’t getting anything from sharing this book with you. We don’t collect anything if you click the link here. Some websites work that way, but for us, it’s about reading. Children (and chickens) need to read and be read to, whether it’s what we write or not!

Gracie’s Summer Reading List…“Molly’s Story” by W. Bruce Cameron

Molly’s Story by W. Bruce Cameron

This book was not a “quick sell” for my chickens because it isn’t about chickens or eggs. But amazingly, it does have a “chicken connection” which caught their attention. Let me explain.

Each of the books in this series is about a different dog with a special purpose. Molly has the ability to detect cancer in people before they even know they have it. She is a cancer-sniffing dog.

While writing this book, W. Bruce Cameron turned to a close friend, Dina Zaphiris, who trains dogs with this special ability. She had not been able to have a dog of her own when she was growing up because her family had chickens. She trained her family’s chickens to do tricks and to come when their names were called. When she grew up, she got her own dogs and became a certified animal trainer.

That part caught the attention of my chickens. If someone who knew about chickens was somehow connected to this book, then that was okay with them. After we finished this story, they have decided they wouldn’t mind it if we eventually get a dog as long as it likes chickens and will guard them.

“There were many parts of the story that made me nervous and worried about Molly and her little girl named CJ. I didn’t like the mother, Gloria, or her boyfriend, Gus. I was really mad at Gloria for turning Molly in as a stray dog and pretending she didn’t know Molly. That was not true, and she should not have done it. Gus grabbed CJ’s arm and wouldn’t let go. Molly defended her. The scariest part of all was when CJ and Molly ran away from home for days and days. Well, I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone, but I will say there were a lot of very intense parts.” – Gracie

“I thought it was interesting how Molly liked being with her little girl even inside the house. I’m not sure what that is like because chickens are more independent, and we like being outside whether our people are inside or not. We don’t really perform tricks to get treats, though we certainly don’t look down on those who do. We think, and rightly so, laying an egg every day is all of the performing we should ever need to do. Molly saved someone’s life in this story, and that was my favorite part. Molly was very smart and very brave.” – Bessie

“I could really relate to Molly because she had a difficult time figuring things out. There is a lot to figure out in life, and I need all of the help I can get. This book didn’t really help me understand people any better, but it did help me to understand dogs better. If we ever get a dog to watch over us, I will know better what to expect. They seem a lot easier to understand than people.” – Pearl

“I liked that Molly is the one who was telling her story herself. Maybe one day I will tell my own story, or maybe a story about my best friend Amelia. I do wish the book had explained how Molly learned to write. Did she use a pencil and paper? Did she use something like a typewriter? I think I will need to know how to do that. There is typing called ‘hunt and peck,’ and I think chickens would be very good at it.” – Emily

“One of the best parts is when Molly writes ‘People really do very strange things.’ That is so very true! I’m glad Molly said that. I know people aren’t lucky enough to be chickens (or dogs), but maybe people will take the hint.” – Amelia

“Molly’s Story” is suitable for ages 8 to 12 and grades 3 to 7 and is available through Barnes and Noble along with other books in this series such as “Ellie’s Story” and “Bailey’s Story.” Each book is about a different special dog. The overall theme of the entire series is “Every dog has work to do. Every dog has a purpose.” The price on the back of each book is $7.99, however Barnes & Noble is offering them for less. Summertime discount codes offer additional savings.

Just so you know, “My Life With Gracie” isn’t getting anything from sharing this book with you. We don’t collect anything if you click the link here. Some websites work that way, but for us, it’s about reading. Children (and chickens) need to read and be read to, whether it’s what we write or not!