From the author of Newbury Medal winning Sarah, Plain and Tall, Patricia MacLachlan shares a sweet story of emigration. A simple tale told through the heart of a sweet Russian child brings a piece of American history to life. This would make a good story to introduce emigration and immigration to younger children.
Nora’s family emigrates from Russia to the new American frontier (we would call our midwest today). Nora’s family consists of her parents and her baby brother, Milo. Nora cries when she sees no hills or trees, is lonely in the stretching landscape of the American prairie, and would so like a friend. A stray dog comes, becoming attached to Milo. Nora’s father is a farmer, having cows and horses on the farm. He sings Russian lullabies as he milks the cows, making Nora sad, missing her homeland. One day, Nora’s father brings home chicks and geese to raise for eating. But Nora loves them and feels that they are too beautiful to eat so her father gives them to her. She names them. They follow her around. At last, she has something she can call her own. One day a chick becomes lost. A distant neighbor girl and her father come with the little lost chick in hand and a friendship begins to develop. Change may be hard, but patience and time can bring delight and sweetness to what once was hard and sad.
The illustrations by Kathryn Brown are filled with the softness that watercolors can bring to paper. Ms. Brown brings in clothing patterns from their Russian homeland, the loveliness of the prairie, and the life of living in a more simple period of American history.
Reading Level: 3 – 7 years
Patricia MacLachlan is the Newbery Medal–winning author of Sarah, Plain and Tall. She has published many, many books, including Journey and Skylark. Patricia MacLachlan lives in western Massachusetts. The following website has an interview with Patricia MacLachlan about Nora’s Chicks: http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/qa-wmaclachlan/
Kathryn Brown is the illustrator of many children’s books, including My Little Grandmother Often Forgets by Reeve Lindbergh and Kisses on the Wind by Lisa Moser. Kathryn Brown lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. You can find her illustration here: http://www.rmichelson.com/Artist_Pages/Brown/Kathryn-Brown.html
- ISBN-13: 9780763647537
- Publisher: Candlewick Press
- Publication date: 2/26/2013
- Pages: 40
- Product dimensions: 8.82 x 10.36 (h) x 0.40 (d)
Originally reviewed by me in November, 2013