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The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly: A Novel Paperback – Deckle Edge, November 26, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, November 2013: You could read the adventures and struggles of Sprout, an egg-laying hen who escapes the coop with dreams of hatching her own chick, as a straightforward children’s book. But just like all enduring classics, peel back a few layers and The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly easily transcends the just-for-kids label by deftly tackling universal themes of individuality, nurturing the young, the cycle of life and death, the meaning of friendship, and the eternal parent-child bond. This English-language translation of the best-selling Korean novel is sparse and economical as befitting the fable-like tale, allowing phrases and moments to breathe with emotion. You’ll root for Sprout as she pluckily faces the elite barnyard coterie for a place to rest her head or as she tirelessly guards her baby from a hungry, conniving weasel. Anyone who is a parent--or has ever been loved by one--will find a moment (or two) where it’s hard to keep the tears at bay. --Bora McAteer

From Publishers Weekly

The road of life is paved with hardships, even tragedy. Fate is implacable; we all must die. Yet it's possible to achieve happiness, and to make a positive contribution to humanity, if one perseveres. This is the lesson of this simply told but absorbing fable, a two million–copy bestseller in South Korea, and a story that will appeal to readers of self-help. The protagonist is a philosophically restless hen who yearns to raise a chick, but her eggs are collected daily by the farmer's wife. The hen encapsulates her longing in the name Sprout, which she gives to herself, signifying the fecundity of nature. Determined €œto do something with her life,€ Sprout escapes from her cage into the barnyard, but she's shunned by all its denizens except another outsider like herself, a mallard duck called Straggler. His lifesaving friendship enables Sprout to achieve one of her dreams: she hatches an egg she discovers in a briar patch, at first unaware that her offspring is not a chick, but a duckling. The book explores the joys of parenthood and the sacrifices required to nurture the next generation, the healing bonds of friendship, and the tug-of-war between nature and nurture. Spare but evocative line drawings by the Japanese artist Nomoco add to the subtle charm of this slim volume. B&w illus. (Nov.)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (November 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143123203
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143123200
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By GraphicNovelReporter.com on December 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
THE HEN WHO DREAMED SHE COULD FLY, a modern South Korean fable by Sun-mi Hwang, tells the story of Sprout, a plucky, ambitious and charismatic hen who lives in a coop. However, Sprout is not content to lay eggs for others in a tiny cage for the farmer. She has a dream of hatching one egg and raising the chick herself. Sprout can see the animals in the barnyard who are allowed to roam free, and she wishes to join them and escape captivity. Once she is declared useless by the farmer and his wife, she is taken from the coop and left for dead. Sprout, though, has other ideas.

Without getting into plot details, Sprout escapes the cruelty of the coop for the cold indifference of the animals of the barnyard. She does eventually manage to raise a chick, though not her own, and we follow the two as they struggle to overcome violent, harsh conditions. Additionally, we see Sprout struggle with loss, maternity and, no pun intended, empty nest syndrome.

Beautifully and simply written, THE HEN WHO DREAMED SHE COULD FLY is a reflection on society, nature and the world at large. Sprout’s life in the coop represents the human fear and tendency of letting circumstances and society trap us in a life we do not want. The selfish animals of the barnyard bring to mind our ability to ignore the plight of those around us. Sprout's life in the wild demonstrates the physical and evolutionary dangers of the world in which we live. Just as Sprout struggles with predators and nature, we can never keep ourselves or our families entirely safe.

At the center of all this is Sprout, one of the most likable protagonists of the year. With her defiance of the rules, curiosity and tireless efforts, Sprout stays with and inspires the reader long after the slim story is finished.

- Josh Mallory
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Format: Paperback
First I bought this book for my kids in elementary school. My kids absolutely admired this book. They were so touched that they even shed tears. So I got curious and read it and did the same. This book strongly portrays love between a mother (main character) and son. I recommend this book for everyone in all ages. Absolutely touches your heart..
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Koch VINE VOICE on December 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Spourt is a lay hen. All she does is lay eggs. Her spot in the coop gives her a good view of the barnyard. She can see all the other animals. She is envious of the other chickens and their babies. Spourt dreams of having a baby of her own. However that is not possible as the farmer's wife takes all her eggs. So Spourt becomes uninterested in laying anymore eggs. Thus in the process, she becomes too weak. She is to be culled. By a miracle, Spourt survives with the help of a duck named Straggler.

Spourt gets shunned by the other farm animals. Spourt finds herself in the briar. There she finds a nest with an egg. The mother is no where to be found. Spourt lays on the egg and finds a sense of belonging.

I absolutely loved Spourt. She is one fierce hen. She won me over from the first moment I met her. She will always have a place in my heart and bookshelf. I could so get behind Spourt as I used to raise chickens. We also had ducks and turkeys. So I am familiar with farm life. The thought that all Spourt wanted was to lay an egg and raise a baby chicken was great. In addition, I have to give Spourt a big kudo for picking out her own name. The meaning behind Spourt's name is that "A spourt is the mother of flowers, it breathes, stands firm against the rain and wind, keeps the sunlight, and rears blindingly white flowers. If it weren't for spourts, there'd be no trees. A spourt is vital."

My other favorites of course were Straggler the duck and baby, Spourt's baby. Yes, Spourt had a baby! This is the type of book that you will want to read again and again. So you night want to pick up three copies. One to keep on your bookshelf, another to read over and over and the third to give to a friend. The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly is a wonderous treasure of a read!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Becky Eastwood on November 29, 2013
Format: Paperback
One of the most unforgettable and life-affirming books I have ever read about what it is to love and to be truly human..... and it's about a plucky little hen named Sprout. Sprout is more human than most people I have read about. This is truly an inspirational book for readers of all ages; for adults to read to their children, for friends to give to each other, for us to read and reflect on the most important values in life; freedom, imagination, hard work, love, self-sacrifice and joy. This is the kind of book I'll keep at my bedside or on my coffee table and read bits of it for years to come. I loved Sprout - she is my hero!
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By F MacNeill on January 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I considered getting this book for my grandchildren, based upon the reviews of a book for all ages, and it's classic, timeless appeal. I am glad I read it first, and decided not to get this book for them. I state this opinion that it is not a book for all ages not only as a grandmother, but a lifetime as an educator.
In the vein of folk tales, good and bad are equally part of the story, and life can be harsh. I would imagine that other reviewers who acclaim this story as beautiful, charming, or advise it for people who are depressed, perhaps live in urban settings which don't have daily reminders of how harsh nature can be. There is a timing of learning the harshness of nature which comes on its own, and nothing we can do will change its lessons. That others find this sweet or appealing perhaps speaks about how far removed many of us are from nature's lessons.
I have lost chickens to domestic dogs, owls, hawks, but nothing comes close to opening the coop and seeing every chicken dead, from its blood sucked out, after the killing spree of a weasel. There is nothing sweet or beautiful about it.
The continual fear of Sprout and the other animals is wearing, and the harshness which I too have experienced firsthand, is something I carefully weigh out in sharing with young people. I want true inspiration along with the reality, and strong chicken coops!
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The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly: A Novel
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