So many great kids books lately that I haven't been recording! Did I tell you about Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer? It's by Kelly Jones and if the title alone doesn't have you hooked, you've gone the wrong way in life and should really reexamine the foundations of your book selection process.
Sophie's dad has lost his job and her family has moved from the city to a farm that they inherited from her great uncle. Her mother keeps them afloat with her freelance writing while her father applies for jobs and struggles with low-grade depression, and Sophie tries to figure out what this new life has to offer for her. When she starts finding chickens that used to belong to Great Uncle Phil and realizes that these are no ordinary chickens--well, maybe country life is for her after all.
This is an adorable book. Let me tell you what I loved about it: it's about making the best when life deals you a crap hand. It's about a family that is struggling but loves each other a lot. Sophie is determined and excited about becoming an expert in something. It's an epistolary novel! There are psychic chickens. Sophie loves the library. There are references to other chicken books (which Adam and I went on to read and enjoy!). Sophie is biracial, and dealing with people's reactions to that is a part of her life, but not a huge one. The bad guys aren't villains so much as they are a little wrong and maybe a little selfish. But most people are good guys.
Did I mention the psychic chickens?
This book was really fun to read to my seven year old, and I bet he could have read it himself if he'd been willing to try. (How to talk him into reading chapter books himself is another thing, and advice is welcome.)
Also, one of the chickens is invisible.