Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Odd Chicken Out

You were warned: I told you I was not above writing stories about talking animals. Here is the first chapter of a 'chapter book' I've written. I'd say the target audience is 5 to 8-year-olds. I know it's not the 15th of the month but I couldn't resist letting Clarissa fly. Enjoy!

Chapter 1

Clarissa never thought herself to be anything but ordinary. She'd been hatched in a large metal incubator surrounded by dozens of other chicks identical to herself. Once they'd all dried out and were sufficiently fluffy, she and the others had been plopped, one by one, into small pink and yellow cardboard boxes lined with straw and sold as Easter presents. Of course, when she started to look more like a hen than a chick, she was packed up again, this time to live with The Farmer. But despite all this moving about, Clarissa felt herself to be nothing unusual. That is, until she met Dorothea.

Dorothea was the largest and whitest hen in The Farmer’s coop. She came strutting over the moment Clarissa arrived.

“I didn’t know they still made brown chickens,” said Dorothea, looking Clarissa up and down.

“Well, I-I-I’ve never seen a white one,” said Clarissa.

A nervous giggle burst from a flock of six white hens clustered near the henhouse door.

“And so small,” Dorothea continued, “I bet you don’t even lay yet.”


The flock giggled again.

“Eggs, you ninny,” said Dorothea, rolling her bulging red eyes.

“Well no… Not yet,” said Clarissa, stooping to eat some feed.

Suddenly Clarissa felt a sharp peck on the head, then a shove that sent her tumbling across the yard.

“Until you lay, you eat last,” said Dorothea. Now the cluster of white hens was silent and staring, their beaks wide open.

Slowly Clarissa picked herself up and limped into the henhouse. She was no longer ordinary. She was the odd chicken out.

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