Pictures by Käthi Bhend
Translated by John S. Barrett
This is the perfect fable for our times! I hope every child gets to hear the story of Henrietta and her indomitable spirit.
Henrietta lives in a place where despair is a perfectly reasonable response to the situation. She is one of three thousand three hundred thirty three chickens in a great big chicken house that smells like chicken droppings and fortified chicken feed and where there is just enough room for each chicken’s feet, but no more. Of course, all the chickens have a cough and constantly pull each other’s feathers out. Things are not good, not good at all.
But Henrietta is going to lay golden eggs — she just knows she will. And learn to fly and to swim and to sing! In between coughing, the other chickens laugh at her. Henrietta is too busy scratching her way out of the chicken house to pay much attention to them, though, and eventually she gets out and then all the other chickens have a day in the sun, too.
Of course, the farmer has his men round them all up and put them back in the chicken house and boards up the hole Henrietta created. So, she starts making a new one! The ending is a joyous triumph that will fill your heart and make you smile for days.
You’ll love this story, your child(ren) will love this story and, I promise you, when things look bleak, if you remember Henrietta, you’ll find a way past the obstacles.