Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Elizabeth Rose Stanton
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Simon and Schuster, 2014   ISBN: 978-1442484368

In almost every respect, Henny is a “typical chicken” She has a comb on her head, toes with claws, a feather covered body, and a beak. There is one thing though that Henny does not have. Henny has no wings. Instead, she has arms. With hands and fingers.

   Sometimes Henny likes her arms because they allow her to do things that the other chicks cannot do, like climb trees. At other times she does not like the fact that she is different because the other farm animals laugh at her rather strange appearance.

   Being different is hard enough when you are a chick, but when you become a grown up chicken, life becomes even more complicated. Henny’s arms cause her to have a lot of things to worry about. Is she right or left handed? Should she wear gloves or mittens? What kinds of clothes should she wear? 

   While all these worries are rattling around inside her head, Henny does her best to behave like a chicken so that she will fit in. She tries to hide her arms, pecking the ground with her beak instead of using her hands to collect her food. Then something happens and Henny makes a startling discovery.

   Being different from everyone else can make one’s life different and present challenges that sometimes seem insurmountable. Often one is trying so hard to fit in that one does not even consider that being different might actually be a good thing. In this delightfully sweet, gently funny, and powerful picture book, we might a character that we quickly grow fond of. Henny is easy to identify with, and her story, which is accompanied by expressive minimal illustrations, is timeless and meaningful.