Reviews of children's and young adult books old and new

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Three French Hens

Three French Hens by Margie Palatini, illustrated by Richard Egielski

It was the third day of Christmas and a Parisian sent her true love, who lived in Paris, three french hens. The only problem is, they never arrived. Colette, Poulette, and Fifi somehow ended up in New York and were determined to be delivered, even if they had to deliver themselves. They searched for Philippe Renard but could only find Phil Fox in the phone book, so they went to his apartment. Phil was not doing very well, he had no food, no friends, and a very dirty apartment. When the hens arrive Phil lets them in knowing he is not the correct Philippe and plans to eat them. But after they take care of Phil for an afternoon, transform his apartment into a cozy home, and feed him a mountain of french dishes Phil cannot eat the hens. He also confesses to not being the correct person for whom they were intended. The hens do not care and decide to become Phil's friend. When Phil offers to share his Christmas presents they refuse, in a surprise twist the hens celebrate Hanukkah. They decide to celebrate the twelve days of Christmas and the eight nights of Hanukkah together and start a beautiful friendship.

I am unsure where to start with this book. Many things about it are a bit odd. The story for one is strange. The hens are given as a gift to be servants of some sort, but they are shipped to their destination instead of on a plane as a passenger. When the chickens arrive at Phil's house, Phil wants to eat them. Is that something chickens in New York have to worry about walking around late at night, an actual predator? I think I am being far to logical for the whimsy of this book but even now, a few days after reading it, I still feel it is just strange. I did like it though, I think it is a fun story about making friends and being kind. The illustrations are a bit strange too and have an unusual feel to them. All of the animals are realistic and there is a lot on each page to look at for clues about the story. Overall I would recommend this book.

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