The New Ink Pen

“What are you doing?” asked Gracie.

”I’m trying out the new pen I got for Christmas.”

“That’s Pearl, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it’s a drippy and messy pen sometimes. Sort of the way Pearl can be. Even though it’s not perfect all of the time, it still makes beautiful lines. You just have to know how to look at them.”

“Messy but beautiful, just like with Pearl,” Gracie said with delight. “But who are the baby chicks? We don’t have any baby chicks here any more.”

“I know. Pearl wants to be a Momma Hen more than just about anything these days. She misses having Blanche at her side. She would like to have some baby chicks that look like her. So I made this drawing.”

“It’s like you’ve said before. Drawing lets you do things you would never be able to do any other way.”

“And that is how you and I will dance in the streets of Paris even if we never get to travel there together. But that is many drawings from now. I still would like to really go to Paris with you, Gracie.”

“Is there a reason why you did this drawing without any bright and pretty color? Besides Pearl being mostly white, I mean.”

“You and I both love pictures. And our readers love pictures too. But books with pictures in color are very expensive to print. So all of our books with color have to be short. No more than sixty-four pages. But it’s going to take more than sixty-four pages to tell some of the stories we want to tell.”

“So these books with black-and-white pictures mean more adventures?”

“Exactly right.”

“Even though you didn’t stay inside the lines all of the time?”

“For me it’s harder to go outside of the lines than to stay inside the lines.”

Gracie laughed, and we smiled together. It didn’t make much sense to either of us, but it didn’t matter.

“What kind of more adventures?” she asked.

“Adventures like Amelia flying to the moon and back. Adventures like you dancing at the Paris Opera Ballet. Adventures like maybe even Pearl having her own little family.”

“And some baby chicks wearing little tutus would be very nice. Can you draw that too?”

She nudged me with her head to make sure I was listening.

“That would make both Pearl and you happy, wouldn’t it? Yes, I can do that. But it will all take some time. A drawing that shows how much I love you takes time to get just right.”

“We can wait.”

“You know, Gracie, this really is A Most Wondrous Place just like you have always said.”

Gracie’s Best Ever Reading List-“Little Bunny’s Book of Thoughts”

I have been unsure what to have as a first post for a new year. Usually I will begin the year with a retrospective look at popular posts from the previous year, but 2020 was an odd year and this first week of 2021 has been an even odder week. And so I am beginning the year by sharing the book my chickens have been reading and reading again.

“Little Bunny’s Book of Thoughts” by Steve Smallman was a gift to ourselves for Christmas, and we couldn’t be happier! This is currently our newest, most treasured book. My chickens and I unanimously say, “We love you, Little Bunny!”

As you can see from the picture, it is a small book, about 6 inches by 6 inches. It is in the little maple rocking chair my grandparents bought for me when I was very young. I would have loved this book back then, even before I had learned to read.

The illustrations are charming and delightful. They beautifully express the emotions that are a part of life, both on a bad day and on a good day. You will likely want to turn the pages slowly to enjoy the short lines of poetry that accompany each drawing of Little Bunny. This is a great “pre-reader” book because a child can still read the pictures and make up the words that go with them.

This book is filled with wisdom as Little Bunny’s day goes from having a not-so-good day to having a phenomenally good day. Little Bunny shows us it’s all in how we look at things. We can turn an “ears-down” day into an “ears-up” day.

Steve Smallman, the book’s author and illustrator, has created what I believe will be a treasured classic. My chickens and I certainly treasure it! This is a book I wish I had written and illustrated, but there is only one Little Bunny, and there is only one Steve Smallman!

“Little Bunny’s Book of Thoughts” is what I call a “sit beside and read to” book. That is how it is best shared with very young children, but probably in a much bigger rocking chair than the one in today’s photo! They will enjoy the drawings. They will enjoy the rhyming words. They will love Little Bunny. And they will especially love you for sitting beside them and sharing this exceptional book.

You too are likely to find yourself saying, if only to yourself, “I love you, Little Bunny.” At least that’s what all of my chickens have said every time I’ve read this book to them.

“Little Bunny’s Book of Thoughts” is available through Amazon. You can use this link to see the Amazon preview of the inside of the book and order a copy as a gift…even if only for yourself!

Signed copies are also available through the publisher and there is also a great video that gives an idea of what the book is like inside on the publisher’s website.

Seriously, can you look at the cover of this book and not smile right along with Little Bunny? I bet you can’t!

Pearl’s Snowy Friends Ornaments (Christmas-Time Or Winter-Time!)


This weekend, we will finish up our decorations for Christmas. We are a little late this year, so we may need to leave everything up a little extra long after the Christmas season is over!

We designed more printable pages to share with everyone who would like to decorate along with us. Those are much more “Christmasy” than the ones we shared last week. One is in full color, and the other is in black and white outline, so you can color them any way you’d like. You can use these for garlands, ornaments, gift tags or anything else you might imagine.

And don’t think that these are just for kids! (We know some of you adults like to color and decorate too!) So, it’s time to get out those coloring pencils and crayons and markers and get ready to decorate!

In case you’re wondering about The Big Blue Hippopotamus that appears in “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens,” there is a song titled “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas” sung by Gayla Peevey in 1953. Check it out on YouTube if you’d like! At first, Pearl thought Christmas was about The Big Blue Hippopotamus because people in our neighborhood had them as decorations in their front yard. That’s why it appears in the story and illustrations…and in this ornament collection as well!

Click this link for Pearl’s Snowy Friends Black & White Ornaments!

Click this link for Pearl’s Snowy Friends Color Ornaments!

These will both download through Dropbox, but you do not need to have a Dropbox account to access them!

We are using cardstock paper for ours. Both of these will print out as full letter-sized pages with generously sized drawings for those who may not be quite the best at staying inside the lines. (Don’t worry, some of my chickens have a hard time staying inside the lines too!)

Today is the last Sunday of Advent, and we hope it will be a good day for you and yours. Happy Decorating!

SPECIAL NOTE: Bessie has been worrying about being able to share a new Christmas baking recipe with everyone because nobody is laying any eggs right now, but her best friend Gracie has come through for her. She laid two eggs this week and is working on another one this morning. Be on the lookout for a new recipe soon! I’m not sure what Bessie will come up with, but I’m sure it will be good!