Gwen the Rescue Hen
Gwen the Rescue Hen
Written by Leslie Crawford, Illustrated by Sonja Stangl
Gwen has spent her whole life in a big egg-laying hen house, so she knows very little about what chickens can do (besides lay eggs, of course). A fateful tornado turns her world upside-down and sideways, landing her in a strange new place that's nothing like the hen house.
Using her wits and chicken superpowers, Gwen dodges danger at every turn until she finds safety and friendship with a boy named Mateo. Together they discover how extraordinary an ordinary chicken really is.
The book includes a bonus section called More About Chickens, where curious readers can learn that chickens have extraordinary eyesight, a complex language of 24 sounds, and are descended from dinosaurs, among other fun facts.
Peek inside Gwen the Rescue Hen here.
Gwen the Rescue Hen is the second book in our Farm Animal Rescue Books for children. The first is Sprig the Rescue Pig.
Target audience: Ages 4 to 7
Size: 8 x 10
PRAISE & PRESS FOR GWEN THE RESCUE HEN
From Kirkus Reviews
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
From School Library Journal
When a tornado rips the roof off the building where a hen and her fellow chickens have been housed in the pitch black, in overcrowded cages, the feathered friends are suddenly free. Where she used to only dream of flying, she can now spread her wings and lift (slightly) into the air. She soon meets a young boy, Mateo, who gently gains her trust, sets up a lovely coop for her and her friends in his backyard, and names her Gwen. Colorful mixed media artwork showcases the drama of the tornado as the chickens' cage is lifted into the vortex ("…terrifying and thrilling, twirling and whirling through space…"), Gwen's curiosity at the wide world around her ("Colors, so many colors. The greenest greens, yellowest yellows, and reddest reds."), and her utter contentment when she finds her forever home with Mateo. Back matter includes interesting facts about chickens (they are good at math, feel empathy for other chickens, and have their own language) while the endpapers depict Gwen in dozens of winsome poses. Readers who have yet to learn about factory farming will likely want to know more about why Gwen and her friends were in such terrible conditions at the start of the story and will come away with an increased respect for the intelligence of farm fowls. VERDICT A gentle first entry into animal rights that will inspire young readers to think critically about the meat we consume and how farm animals are treated.
“The second book in Stone Pier Press’s Farm Animal Rescue series, Gwen the Rescue Hen sheds light on the realities of factory farming in an age-appropriate and relatable way. Author Leslie Crawford’s playful prose tells the tale of Gwen and her fateful escape from an egg farm. Free from the hen house, Gwen’s adventure is only just beginning as she discovers a new life on the outside. As children read about the friendship that she forges with a boy named Mateo, they will gain more than an enlightening look at farmed animal rescues, but also a lesson in compassion, and a close look at the extraordinary individuals who are chickens. The book also includes a bonus section, with fun facts all about chickens.”
"These are fantastic books. Sprig and Gwen are both funny, sweet, and beautifully illustrated...They're bound to make readers think, too." (14:00)
-Eric Lindstrom, TryVeg podcast
“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
“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
“Sprig the Rescue Pig and Gwen the Rescue Hen are delightful and engaging stories. Youngsters will rejoice in the characters' glorious newfound freedom while developing compassion for these sensitive creatures. Both books are sweetly illustrated by Sonja Stangl.”
“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.”
—Jasmin Singer, co-host of Our Hen House podcast, Sr editor of VegNews
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A U T H O R & I L L U S T R A T O R
A journalist and editor for more than twenty years, Leslie Crawford has primarily written about health and education. It was thanks to her daughter Molly, who has never met an animal she doesn’t like, that Leslie developed an interest in writing about animals. Leslie lives in San Francisco with her two children, six chickens, four foster pigeons, and a bearded dragon lizard named Georgia.
Sonja Stangl studied multimedia art in Salzburg and now lives and works in Vienna, where she illustrates stories for books and animation. Learn more about Sonja at inky.land.