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A hen named Sprout has only one wish—“to hatch an egg and watch the birth of a chick.” But her existence in a coop consists only of laying eggs for market. When she can no longer do so, the farmer throws Sprout into the Hole of Death, from whence no barnyard creature has returned.

Except for Sprout. Befriended by an outsider, a wild duck named Straggler, the hen survives. In a peculiar twist of circumstances, Sprout is granted her wish and hatches an egg, which she wrongfully had assumed was a chick. Straggler encourages Sprout in her role as mother, teaching her that differences between the way creatures look and think need not keep them from respecting and cherishing each other.

This winsome fable for adults subtly explores themes of totalitarianism, freedom, tradition, xenophobia, and sacrificial living. (Penguin Books)

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