Animals in Literature

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Sonya’s Chickens

Sonya’s Chickens tells the story of a young girl dealing with the loss of one of her chickens. One morning, Sonya wakes to discover a missing chicken, which she learns from her father, was taken by a fox. While consoling Sonya, her father informs her of the reason the fox took the chicken which leads to Sonya discovering some important truths about the interconnectedness of nature. Students may relate to the feelings experienced when losing a pet, and will have opportunities to empathize with Sonya. Students can also see the story from the perspective of the fox, which can help build understanding and empathy.

Why use this book?

  • Addresses pet loss in a positive and realistic manor. Often the first loss children experience is that of a beloved pet. Books can provide an opportunity to discuss and deal with emotions about loss and grief in a healthy way.
  • Highlights the strong connection and relationships people have with companion animals, known as the human-animal bond.
  • Connects readers to where the food we eat comes from.

Ask students:

  • How did Sonya feel when she couldn’t find one of her chickens? Why did she feel this way?
  • When the fox took the chicken, how did it make you feel? How were you feeling towards Sonya? The chicken? The fox?
  • Why did the fox take the chicken?
  • After learning why the fox took the chicken, did your feelings toward the fox change? Explain.
  • Where do your eggs come from? What does egg farming look like where you live? (eggs are produced in a variety of ways – from small backyard flocks, to large scale egg farming operations).


  • Exploring Perspectives – There is more than one side to every story. In the book, Sonya’s Chickens, we experience the events that take place from Sonya’s perspective. Ask students to rewrite the story from a different perspective, making sure to describe what their character is thinking and how they are feeling about the events that take place. Encourage students to use literary elements to enhance imagery in their writing. If time permits, ask willing students to share their story with the class.

Sonya’s Chickens is part of the AnimalTales program. Above, is a small selection of the discussion questions and activities that can be found in the Grade Three Teacher’s Guide. For additional discussion questions and activities request the FREE book-lending program for your class.

Additional Resources Related to Book:

  • For information on helping students deal with pet loss, click here.
  • For a short video on the life cycle of a chicken, click here.
  • Watch this Alberta SPCA video that answer the question: Why are some eggs white & others brown?
  • Watch this Alberta SPCA video that answers the questions: What does it mean when eggs are called ‘free run’?
  • Hatching Eggs or Hatching Problems: Points to consider if you are considering hatching chicken eggs in your classroom.

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