Praise for gwen
“Come on, Gwen,” says Mateo, as he helps settle her onto the handlebars. Let’s hit it! she thinks. Let’s fly.
Hen is suffering a pretty miserable existence when a natural disaster proves her salvation. Imprisoned in a battery cage and exploited as a laying hen, Hen shares a tiny cage with half a dozen or so of her sisters. Everywhere Hen looks, she sees rows upon rows and stacks upon stacks of hens. Hen’s only freedom – her only escape from the chaos and filth of her prison – is in her dreams.
That is, until the day a tornado lifts Hen’s cage from the giant, industrial shed in which it’s housed and deposits Hen and her companions in a beautiful green field. The girls scatter, but not before a boy and his friends spot Hen. After a tense stand-off and a few close calls, Hen learns to trust the human boy called Mateo. Newly christened Gwen, Hen and the Boy become best friends, enjoying swims in the river (or, in Hen’s case, dust baths on the shore), roosting/reading marathons, and social calls.
Based on the destruction of an egg farm in Croton, Ohio, GWEN THE RESCUE HEN is a sweet and beautiful tale of friendship – and compassion. Gentle enough for young readers (Hen’s time as a cog in the machine of animal ag is indeed morose – as emphasized by the black and white palette – but handled with care, and with the more horrifying details omitted), the story is also educational, with plenty of facts about chickens sprinkled throughout. By giving a name to a bird – one of five billion such animals living in American battery cages at any given time – the authors affirm Gwen’s personhood: she is a someone, not a something. This shouldn’t be a novelty, and yet.
GWEN THE RESCUE HEN is a wonderful choice for vegan families, or for any parent or guardian wishing to instill a sense of compassion in their young children. And the artwork is super-adorable too!”
- Kelly Garbato, NetGalley
“In telling these heartwarming tales of resilience, compassion and love, Crawford avoids the more brutal realities of factory farming, showing simply that these farms are extremely unhappy places for such intelligent and emotional beings. She focuses instead on how truly wonderful these overlooked and poorly treated animals are — that they’re way more than just bacon and nuggets.”
- Reynard Loki, Truthout
“The writing was immediately captivating and left me wanting to find out what happened to Gwen.”
“Chickens in a factory farm get an unexpected chance at a better life. Crammed into a tiny cage, with hardly any room to move, Hen longs to stretch her wings and fly. But like the other chickens in the cages that line the pitch-black barn, she is part of an egg farm, so the only flying she can do is in her dreams. Suddenly a roaring sound fills the air ("HOWOOOOH!"). A tornado rips the roof off of the barn ("KABOOM!") and takes Hen's cage swirling with it. When she touches down ("CLONK!"), she is amazed to see a world of color and tasty grass. But there are also new dangers to fear: barking dogs and zooming motorcycles. Luckily she meets Mateo, a tan-skinned, brown-haired boy who has a penchant for chickens. Mateo renames Hen "Gwen" and learns to care for her and her friends, whom he finds and brings home. Readers will happily learn along with Mateo, using the intriguing list of chicken facts appended at the end. Stangl's teardrop-shaped fowl further endear as they peer out from the pages with big eyes and bobbling bodies. With a light touch (and much onomatopoeia), Crawford offers compassion and insight on farm-animal rescues.”
(Picture book. 4-8)
“A delightful read for children and chicken lovers alike!
Gwen the Hen goes from factory farm living to wing flapping freedom in this adventure and it's sure to put a smile on little faces. The book doesn't get too dark and scary with the realities that face Gwen in her caged living, just touches on her life as a hen in the dark confines her warehouse. Then thankfully, as though Oz sent, a tornado appears and liberates Gwen and her cell mates from their captivity and gives them a chance at a real life full of true chicken activities. I loved the book and can't wait to send a copy to my friends 4 year old, I'm sure it's going to become a bedtime classic.”
“This is a really strong children's book. Despite being about a hen who escapes a factory farm, it doesn't really hit the reader over the head with any sort of animal rights message. Instead, it's a gentle story about kindness and friendship and... well, just letting chickens be chickens.”
"Our society has long needed more kid-appropriate, high-quality media that gives them access to pro-animal stories in a compelling, age-appropriate way. Gwen the Rescue Hen does just that, allowing young readers to follow along as this darling chicken goes on the adventure of a lifetime thanks to a sudden twist of fate. Her story safely allows young readers to ask important questions about humans' relationships to animals, and the stunning illustrations allow readers to stay fully engaged. I have no doubt this book will quickly become your kid's favorite nighttime read."
"Do we ever really think much about the chicken, or the egg? We should! Gwen the Rescue Hen asks us to really *see* chickens’ and understand their unique kind of intelligence and their superpowers. Told with humor, insight, and compassion, and beautifully illustrated, Gwen uses her wits and chicken superpowers to find her way to a new life in which she can be the chicken she was meant to be."
-Brian Kateman, Editor of The Reducetarian Solution
“Leslie Crawford has ably imagined and narrated the story of Gwen’s great adventure, and Sonja Stangl’s illustrations have perfectly captured the whimsy inherent in all things chicken. Together they show children, and adults that “happily ever after” is a real thing—and making it happen can be as simple as letting chickens live like chickens.”
- Randy Graham, Hipster Hens, Wonder Eggs, and the Meaning of Life