In this, the third of the picture book series ‘Follow My Food’, that aims to help younger children understand where their food comes from, we join a little boy who presents a day in the life of free range hen, Shelly. First she takes a dust bath that helps her get rid of mites and generally keeps her feathers clean; then she hunts around in the grass for bugs and herbs to eat. Much of Shelly’s time is spent with her flock and that she’s the one in charge is shown clearly in Julia Groves’ bold, bright cut paper scenes of them pecking in the grass and dashing up the ramp in front of her. Both activities make Shelly sleepy so an afternoon nap is on her agenda before lots more food finding and then at sunset, it’s time to return to the safety of the coop and her top spot therein. It’s at dawn that she and the other hens move to their nesting boxes to lay their eggs. These will be collected a bit later by the boy narrator who accompanies the farmer when she comes with food and water for the flock; and you never know that brown-shelled egg he has on his plate at teatime might just be one Shelly provided.
Deborah Chancellor uses lively, chatty language for the main narrative, after which is double-spread trail-type quiz based on facts from the story, where youngsters match words and pictures. Then come two further information pages with paragraphs on ‘Happy hens’, ‘Tasty eggs’ and Chatty chickens’.
Food is a popular focus for foundation stage and KS1 learners so, like others in the series, this would be a useful one to add to school collections.