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Once Upon a Flock: Life with My Soulful Chickens Hardcover – March 19, 2013
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"Lauren Scheuer is a writer of immense warmth who beautifully captures the quirks, comedy, and drama of backyard chickens. You will love Lucy, Hatsy, and the other amusing characters of her flock. You will love Marky the dog and Danny the husband. But most of all you will love Lauren and her gentle and generous soul. This remarkable interspecies family will make you laugh, will touch your heart, and -- yes, believe it -- just might make you cry. Once Upon a Flock is a celebration of all that is sweet and simple and pure in life." (John Grogan, author of Marley & Me and The Longest Trip Home)
“This book is like a cool breath of fresh air on a hot summer day. It’s full of delight, whimsy, joy, and hilarity, yet it goes much deeper than that. Each member of this little flock has her own personality traits, quirks, preferences, and logic. Some are compassionate and nurturing, others are competitive and mean-spirited. With her photos and drawings throughout the book, Scheuer entertains, teaches, and captivates the reader. You will learn more about chickens than you ever thought possible, and will fall in love with them along the way. I highly recommend this book!” (Stacey O’Brien, author of Wesley the Owl)
“Part memoir, part photo album, part comic book, Once Upon a Flock is wholly delightful—as are all the distinctive, compelling individual chickens you’ll come to know and love in these pages. I loved it!” (Sy Montgomery, author of Birdology and The Good Good Pig)
“From the first page, Lauren Scheuer and her flock are the next-door neighbors you wish you had. She is witty, charming, and constantly delighted by the antics of her backyard hens. This is the book I wish I'd read when I brought my first chicks home from the feed store. As an artist and as a writer, Lauren perfectly captures the joy and heartache of backyard chicken-keeping. Whether you're raising a flock yourself or only dreaming of it, you'll love this book.” (Amy Stewart, author of Wicked Bugs and Wicked Plants)
“Once Upon a Flock has a clear message: Chickens are people, too. They form bonds, have spats, make new friends and even fall in love. Prepare to be charmed and even moved by the story of these birds, so much so, you might find yourself the proud owner of a couple of chicks.” (Tamara Staples, author of The Fairest Fowl and The Magnificent Chicken)
About the Author
Lauren Scheuer writes the popular blog “Scratch and Peck.” A UCLA graduate and freelance illustrator, she lives in Massachusetts with her family and her chickens. You can find out more at LaurenScheuer.com.
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Lauren's blog, Scratch and Peck, is such a huge favorite with me that I had some of those feelings when learning she was releasing a book. I love her blog format, which mixes photographs, illustrations, and text in the perfect ratios to tell her story sweetly, clearly, and with a hint of magic. Surely in this day of low publishing budgets, she wouldn't be able to write a book that includes color illustrations and photographs on every page? How would she tell her story in just the right way if publishing constraints made her change what is so magical about her format?
I needn't have worried. Upon receiving Once Upon a Flock in the mail (I had it pre-ordered!) I flipped through right away and was overjoyed to see the same type of beautiful illustrations mixed with photographs that you see on her blog. Lauren writes for a paragraph or so, then uses her sweet, soulful illustrations to enhance the stories she's telling about her life, her chickens, and her dog Marky.
If you're unsure of what to expect from Lauren's style, you can check out her blog Scratch and Peck. While there is a tiny bit of overlap between the stories she shares on her blog and the story found in the book, the book felt like an entirely fresh experience (and I have read every post on the blog).
I can't overstate how much I enjoyed reading this. I own chickens myself, so a lot of the stories she shared are ones that I could relate to. Lauren's storytelling abilities and illustrations seem to elevate even ordinary happenings into more meaningful experiences. While reading, I found myself more appreciative of all of the small pleasures in my own everyday life. If you're a fan of chickens, or a fan of Lauren's blog, I would absolutely recommend you pick up this book right away. I enjoyed it so much that I've purchased a second copy to give to a friend who's about to get her own backyard flock.
Yes, chickens are people too, and anyone who ever owned or owns a flock of backyard chickens, knows what we're talking about. Chickens form friendships, they are loving, mean, jealous, curious, smart, hilarious and once you own them, you can't be without. I'm a proud chicken mama since 1991 and I'll never, ever be without those lovable birds and suppliers of tasty eggs.
Lauren is someone you want to meet, because the book makes you think - rightly so - that she is a very kind, loving and humorous soul, being able to write a story like that. I met Lauren in Austin during an event of the Backyard Chicken Meetup Group and she's every bit as personable as I thought she would be.
The illustrations and photographs in the book are priceless. I love them so much. And I really, really hope there will be more books written by Lauren and her chickens.
I really can't recommend this book enough. It's a feel-good story about the crazy things we chicken people do for our birds, how we obsess and worry and how easily they capture our hearts.
I hope this book gets all the attention it deserves; it's obvious that the author put a lot of herself into each page. If you haven't been following her blog - scratchandpeck. blogspot. com - you should check it out. It's one of my favorite bookmarks. :)