The Hen who Dreamed She could Fly – Sun-Mi Hwang (2014)

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Wow. I’m not sure that I can really verbalize what this little book is about, but suffice to say it’s adorable, charming, sweet and poignant and almost made me cry several times. It’s been a bestseller in South Korea, and was translated earlier this year to English. My particular edition included some wonderful illustrations that *perfectly* matched the narrative in its feel and emotional timbre which definitely added to the whole reading experience.

This is a must-read if you’re looking for an emotionally-punchy poignant fable about a small chicken called Sprout with a big dream of escaping the coop and hatching an egg.

The story revolves around Sprout the chicken who chose her secret name when she watched the acacia tree across the farmyard blossom and bloom every spring. The fact that the tree grew flowers and then leaves throughout the year meant that she too could grow and become more than she was – a not-very-good egg-laying hen in a cage. But the future? The future was hers if only she could escape.

As the plot progresses, Sprout learns how to take life by the combs and then ensues a life of freedom earned in so many hard ways. Although the story sounds like a child’s tale, this is a book which faces the reality of a chicken’s life head-on: there is violence, there is fighting, but there are also love and forgiveness. And does she get her life-long dream of hatching an egg? Aaah, my friends, you’ll have to read to find that out.

Reviewer Adam Johnson describes this book as thus: “the nexus of fable, philosophy, children’s literature, and nature writing…” which is extremely close to how I would describe it.

Honestly, this was one of the quietest and yet most powerful books that I’ve read this year. It will definitely make it on to my “Best Read of 2014” list, and I think you’ll love it as well. It’s a quick read, but one that will leave you thinking about it for days afterward. I just adored Sprout.

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2 thoughts on “The Hen who Dreamed She could Fly – Sun-Mi Hwang (2014)

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