Squidalicious Reviews


Book Review: Percy the Perfectly Imperfect Chicken
November 25, 2009, 8:49 am
Filed under: books, reading, review | Tags: ,

If you stock your kids’ bookshelves like I do, they contain a colorful mix of tales both fanciful and educational.  Books like Percy, the Perfectly Imperfect Chicken, Rick Rieser’s new FastPencil release about a chicken who doesn’t fit in.

I accepted a review copy of Percy with hopes that a book about creatures “perfectly imperfect” would carry a message of acceptance towards those who act or look in ways “typical” creatures find strange. I read Percy with my youngest daughter, who is almost-five, and we were both taken with Daniel Seward’s vibrant illustrations as well as the cute barnyard scene: an egg hatches! The chickens all gather round to greet the newest member of their flock!

Then a trio of older hens struts forth and scrutinizes Percy, declaring that they need to see him, as only perfect chickens are allowed to stay in their yard. Percy’s mom insists that her son is fine, and so he appears to be at first. Or is he? Unsurprisingly, I was hoping for an unsubtle special needs parallel … and was disappointed when Percy’s difference is revealed to be a matter of minor cosmetics. However, I am not a chicken, and I do not live in a world where a small variation in my appearance would get me ejected from my home.

Percy’s mom continues to protect him. When he reaches adulthood, he flies above the barnyard and is treated to views he’d never before encountered — including those of the three governing hens. From his new perspective, he sees that each hen has one of the forbidden imperfections, and confronts them.

I admit to a bit of discomfort with those scenes. We try to run a positive-thinking household, and pointing out someone’s else’s imperfections — even during self-advocacy — is not something we model. But it is also important that our children learn to recognize and reject hypocrites, especially those who wield influence or power. Otherwise, our kids will be taught to strive for that which they and indeed most people in their community do not represent (body image or materialism, anyone?). I want my kids to know that, as Percy’s mom says, “Perfect is something that doesn’t exist.”

Of course Mali doesn’t care about any of my analysis. She thinks Percy is an awesome book and reads it every day:

Coolness: Percy the Perfectly Imperfect Chicken was published through FastPencil.

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