Friday, February 16, 2018

PPBF: Hatching Chicks in Room 6

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick*

Hatching Chicks in Room 6, by Caroline Arnold
Hatching Chicks in Room 6

Written and illustrated by Caroline Arnold

Charlesbridge, 2017
Ages 3-7, 40 pp, 590L

Science, Nature, Non-fiction, Chicken Life Cycle

Mrs. Best keeps chickens in her backyard. Every day the hens lay eggs. Every day Mrs. Best collects the eggs for her family to eat. But today Mrs. Best is bringing the eggs to school.

Hatching Chicks in Room 6 is a photo essay of one Kindergarten class's hands-on experience raising chickens in the classroom. The book documents the journey from incubator to outside pen, serving as textbook and guidebook. Hatching Chicks is a great companion for teachers, a starting point for those wishing to raise their own flock, and an introduction to the avian life cycle for schools unable to care for actual animals.

What I Love:
This is not my kind of non-fiction. I would never have picked this book up off the shelf. As a child, I would never have chosen this book. So why is Hatching Chicks in Classroom 6 my Perfect Picture Book Friday pick? Not just because it won the CYBILS Award for elementary non-fiction (though it did), but because it is surprising, and fun, and almost perfect.

The text is perfectly suited to its audience. The writing is straightforward, but not dry. Facts abound, but not in a didactic way. The author's interaction with the kids of Room 6 and their combined enthusiasm for the subject shines from every page, putting the reader in the classroom, transforming the chicks into characters in a story.

Hatching Chicks is rather like a scrapbook of Caroline Arnold's time with Ms. Best's 6-year-olds. As readers, our education grows along with the little peeps. Questions, vocabulary, links, and more provide a complete package of resources for like-minded teachers or inquisitive students. I would love to see it in the hands of kids (especially the ones like me who might miss it!)


1. If you know a teacher who would like to raise chickens in the classroom, pass on these links for educators: 7 Rules for a Successful Hatching Project from MyPetChicken and an elementary grade activity booklet from NYAgriculture in the Classroom.

2. Expand on the project with Vital Farms's 20 Ways to Recycle Eggshells.

3. Whole Fed Homestead has an economic, organic recipe for chicken mash, instead of purchasing store-bought chick feed.

4. Some administrators may need convincing, or schools may need to apply for grants. Find the info they'll need on PetsInTheClassroom.

5. Celebrate hatching day with a healthy snack: Alana Jones-Mann cooked up a dozen hard-boiled eggs that look like chicks hatching. There's a slightly more complicated version available from HGTV.

6. Check out these and more Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Jarm
Reviewed by Susanna

Reviewed by Joanne
Reviewed by Patricia

Reviewed by Sue
Reviewed by Susanna

Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Perfect Picture Book Friday is pre-empted today because of the 2018 Valen-Tiny Contest. Please check out the entries on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

*As a CYBILS second round judge, a review copy of this book was made available in exchange for my honest opinion.


  1. I loved this book, but I hadn't thought of pairing it to the great titles you suggested.


Thank-you for taking time to share your thoughts!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.