Book Review: “Chickenology”

Book Cover, Chickenology
“Chickenology: The Ultimate Encyclopedia”
By Barbara Sandri, Camilla Pintonato and Francesco Giubbilini
Princeton Architectural Press, 2021
80 pages, hardcover, $19.95

Ah, chickens: the gateway drug to many a barnyard menagerie. Simple to tend with generous returns, their appeal extends beyond rural farmyards, reaching up to urban rooftops and across suburban backyards. These days more people know about chickens than don’t, and with so many of us having already fallen for these feathered friends, upon seeing this title I couldn’t help a slight inward groan – another book about chickens? And so begins a tale of eating crow, er, chicken, for this review.

“Chickenology: The Ultimate Encyclopedia” is not another book about chickens, it is the book about chickens. Beautifully illustrated and deeply informative, it has a magical quality that few books can boast: a wide appeal across age groups. As a mother to two on either end of an 8-year age gap, this is a rare and to be celebrated find. Younger children will be thrilled to flip through the vibrantly colored pages filled edge to edge with all things chicken, while older children can happily dive into chicken ancestry, history, tracking, hatching and so much more. With images labeled to the hilt – from anatomy to feathers to combs and more – “Chickenology” would also make an excellent addition to any homeschooler or nature journaler’s library. And, full disclosure: it’s not just for kids. “Chickenology” held this seasoned chicken keeper’s rapt attention from cover to cover, delivering new and interesting tidbits along the way. 

Having spent the past decade mothering and chickening, it takes a special book to enter our collection of children’s books already flush with farm-centric titles that – while lovely – are often guilty of recycling the same idea or information over and over again. “Chickenology,” with its pages chockfull of information and engaging imagery, is a treasure of a book for the entire family, one I’m glad to make room for on the bookshelf.

– Julie Letowski, Washington, Maine

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