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Summary: Each of the barnyard birds had an opinion on why they were the best fowl in the yard. When they discover an egg unlike any other, they are sure that something foul is going on. When the egg finally hatched, out popped Sam, a rare bird, indeed. While most of the birds were helping Sam grow, he was trying to decide who (or what) he is. This is a story that speaks to the theme that we have the traits of others, but are individuals, too.
Type of Reading: family reading, playtime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 8; read yourself: 7 to 9
Interest Level: 3 to 8
Age of Child: Read with 4½-year-old child.
Young Reader Reaction: S/He likes this book, mostly for the name. By the time we read it (at our child's request) the second time, s/he was shouting "Churkendoose" mid-way through the story.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a nice twist on the usual be-yourself/ugly-duckling theme. The various fowl represent many of the personalities that kids encounter on a daily basis, whether peers or adults.
Pros: The story has a good lesson for kids about not only being true to yourself, but also thinking about how and what you say to others.
Cons: The illustrations don't match the quality of the story. The Churkendoose looks amazingly like an ostrich, not a unique rare bird.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. The story has a valuable lesson, but it isn't one you'll come back to very frequently to reinforce the message when it's forgotten.