Iris-Arla Moore has taken the unusual and true story of Henrietta, a Bantam chicken, and turned it into an appealing children’s book. In this picture book geared to preschool children and beginning readers, photos illustrate how Henrietta came to live and “work” with Dan.
Dan owns an auto repair shop, and one day a chicken boldly walked through his door. After Dan tried to find where she came from and no one knew, he bought a cage and food for her, and she decided to stay. For the last 12 years, she has joined Dan at work each day and greets all the customers. She even tries to help add up the bill on Dan’s adding machine after he has fixed a car or truck. (“She flies from the floor to the desk and begins to peck on the sales slip…She knows just what to do next. She walks to the calculator. That is what Dan uses to figure the total cost of the work done. Then she begins to test the keys.”)
Henrietta’s real job is protecting Dan’s shop from crows and other birds and animals. “She clucks and flaps her wings as she runs after them.” She likes to fly to the ceiling of the shop so she can keep an eye on everything that goes on and has even chased away a dog. Henrietta has been featured on television, motivating people who saw her on TV to come and meet her.
Moore has turned this little known “human” interest story into a well-written and engaging tale for children that can be enjoyed by their parents, too; the fact that it is true will fascinate young and old alike. The book has been lovingly and well laid out with color photos that have a realistic and artful quality to them. They enhance a story that is bound to appeal to youngsters who are animal lovers, among many others.