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Chicken Man

Michelle Edwards

NewSouth Books
978-1-58838-223-8
$16.95 hardcover
978-1-58838-237-5
$10.95 paperback
7 ¾ x 10  
32 pages
color illustrations throughout
Published in 2007

The Summer that Rody worked in the kibbutz chicken coop, the hens laid more eggs than ever before and the roosters strutted and crowed as if they were the happiest in all of Israel. That’s when the kibbutz started calling Rody “Chicken Man.”

Chicken Man was very happy working in the chicken coop. So happy, in fact, that everyone thought taking care of chickens must be the best job on the kibbutz. And so when the new work list was posted, Bracha got a turn in the chicken coop and Chicken Man was sent to the laundry.

It wasn’t easy trading his chickens for a washing machine, but Chicken Man made the best of it. Every day, he sang while he worked. Soon everyone began to think that working in the laundry must be the best job on the kibbutz. And so when the next new work list was posted, Dov got a turn in the laundry and Chicken Man became the gardener.

And so it went. Chicken Man kept moving from one job to another, missing his chickens more each day, but always working hard and enjoying whatever he did. The chickens grew sadder and sadder without their Chicken Man—until one day there was trouble in the chicken coop and the kibbutz learned that it’s not the job but the person who does it that makes the difference.

Chicken Man was the winner of the 1992 National Jewish Book Award, with delightful illustrations by author Michelle Edwards. This reissued edition includes an updated afterword by the author, discussing modern changes in kibbutz life.

Awards:

  • National Jewish Book Award

Praise:

“In her first children's book, Edwards draws on her experience living on a kibbutz to create this portrait of a kind, good natured man. Known as Chicken Man, kibbutznik Rody is in charge of the chicken coops. His presence makes all the hens and roosters so happy that they are more productive than ever before, and eggs are always plentiful. Chicken Man is quite distressed when the new work list is posted and he is assigned to a different job. But whatever task Rody performs—ironing clothes, tending to the gardens or caring for a houseful of wild children—he does it cheerfully and competently. The chickens in the coop are less adaptable: they miss Chicken Man so much that they stop laying eggs. But all ends happily when the bighearted fellow returns—for good—to his brood. Along with her lighthearted story, Edwards offers an informative look at kibbutz life. Her stylized paintings are dotted with diverting details. Ages 5-8.” —Publishers Weekly
“Kindergarten through Grade 4—Flat cartoon drawings are exactly right to add dimension and humor to this tale based on the author's experiences on an Israeli kibbutz. The summer Rody works in the chicken coop at Kibbutz Hanan, the hens lay more eggs than ever; he is so happy with his job that the other kibbutzniks call him Chicken Man and believe his to be the best job around. But while Rody is cheerful regardless of his assignments in the customary job rotation, the chickens miss him so much they stop laying eggs. All is well after he convinces the work committee to assign him permanently to the coop. Edwards presents a glimpse of life unknown to many American children; an author's note gives additional facts about life on a kibbutz.” —School Library Journal
“Refeshingly humorous.” —Kirkus
“Delightful!” —The Horn Book