America’s favorite bird and America’s favorite diversion have come together at last! Chickens meet puzzles in Fowl Play, a fresh collection of brain-teasers by noted puzzle creator Patrick Merrell.

Americans are increasingly besotted with their backyard hens, boosting the popularity of the country’s most beloved bird. Meanwhile, today’s crossword-playing audience is 50 million strong, and a Philadelphia Inquirer survey showed that 167 million Americans — more than half the population — have played sudoku. By combining puzzles and poultry, Fowl Play promises to be irresistible.

Fowl Play offers an array of chicken-themed puzzles and games, all packaged into a plucky little volume that is easy to take along. The book is packed with logic puzzles, crosswords, math challenges, word searches, mazes, cryptograms, and other amusements. These games are interspersed with fun facts, clever illustrations, and trivia about America’s favorite bird. The book’s small size makes it easy to tuck in a bag, promising fun for the whole family whether they’re on the road . . . or merely crossing it.

With playful illustrations, an array of challenges, and clever mind games that won’t ruffle any feathers, Fowl Play challenges chicken puzzlers of every level.

Patrick Merrell is a cartoonist, puzzle maker, and author whose work has appeared in hundreds of publications. He is a regular contributor to The New York Times crossword, the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, and the World Puzzle Championship. His other books include Bird Brainteasers and Coffee Time (with Helene Hovanec).

HOW TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

Leave a comment in the box telling us anything kids and chickens. Funny stories, crazy stories, personal thoughts, anything! But remember, your comment must be about your kids (or someone else’s kids, or you as a kid!) and chickens. We’ll add a bonus point (for random.org) if your kid(s) shares a story in his/her/their own words.

This giveaway will end on 10/10/2010 at 10 PM PST. Available for international entry, although book will be shipped via media mail. Open to all persons, even contributing authors of this blog.

Winners will be chosen by random.org and will be e-mailed. The winner has 48 hrs. to respond to e-mail or another winner will be chosen. Winners will be announced on this post.

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Jordanne grew up as a farm girl living in the most unlikely of places -- the concrete jungle sprawl of Los Angeles. She lives on the Urban Homestead where she shares her life with a wacky and always entertaining menagerie of goats, ducks, chickens, cats, bees, and stray animals that land up on her porch. Her passions are the natural and sustainable care of animals and her knowledge lies in successfully integrating "farm" animals into the city lifestyle. Jordanne also contributes to her family's blog called Little Homestead in the City -- chronicling this bizarre, beautiful, and often hilarious journey they're on.

17 COMMENTS

  1. I just got my first chickens this past spring, and my 9 yr old step son loves them! The first thing he wants to do when he gets to our house is go see the chickens, he spoils them more than I do! He will go and talk to them, and feed them, and collect their eggs, and he is so eager to learn about them, he is always so full of questions. One day it started raining pretty bad, and he was worried to death about them, so he told me he wanted to go hold an umbrella over them so they wouldnt get wet! My heart melted when he said that!

  2. My kids love our chickens, and they love us back. We have an “Old Lady” coop and one for the younsters. Thank you for your continued enlightenment.

  3. When my oldest daughter was about seven, we drove past a Burger King. The sign outside read, “New Chicken Club is here.” My daughter got all excited, and said, “Mommy, can I join the chicken club!?!” It was so funny, but she really was innocent and was disappointed that it was a sandwich.

  4. I once took my rooster to an outdoor beer garden / brewery (very family-friendly) and he sat on the laps of several kids. One dad told me Mesmer (the rooster) made his kids’ day! Mesmer grew up around kids and was so well-trained he would not go potty sitting on someone’s lap. He’d make a fuss to get down. Then he grew up and became a typical territorial rooster, so he had to go to a bigger farm. But we’ll never forget him… I don’t think anyone at the brewery will either!

  5. My kids and I made up a silly song when they were little about chickens while we were bored riding in the car.
    chickens!,
    chickens!,
    chickens everywhere,
    chickens in my hair!,
    chickens in my underwear!

  6. We are getting ready to build a chicken tractor and move into raising chickens for eggs and maybe eating (this would be hard for us). When we were talking to the 6 year old about it she said eggs are good but we cannot eat the chickens. She sat there for about 5 minutes explaining to us how silly we would be if we ate the chickens then they could not have eggs for us to eat or to make more chickens. When we asked her what we would do with the old chickens that did not give any eggs anymore she said we would keep them and they would be nice to the chicks and help their mommys take care of them just like her grandma does. Ok with that logic I guess chicken is off the menue.

  7. When I was a kid, my grandparents had a couple of chickens. I would love to go visit and hang out with the hens. The chicks had a great coop, but I always thought they would enjoy the front yard more because it had such rich soil and lots of little bits to eat. I would gather one under each arm and trek through the house to take them to their special place. My grandpa would say, “Watch out, her comes the chicken girl!” I LOVED being referred to as the “chicken girl”.

    Now I’m all grown up and have a family of my home. I still LOVE chickens. We recently brought home 4 little chicks and have been enjoying them in our backyard. My 8 year old son and 6 year old daughter love our chicks. I do too, but I especially enjoy watching them play with the chicks, feeding them and becoming their own “chicken boy” and “chicken girl”.

  8. One of my childhood friends comes home to visit every Thanksgiving and brings his children out to my farm for pony rides, chicken feeding, goat petting, and general running around in circles until they pass out. One year, my friend’s son, who was about five at the time, held out his hand full of chicken scratch for my hens to eat. When they pressed their beaks into his little hand to take the scratch he shrieked gleefully, “She’s peckering me!” This has become a favorite tag line around our farm and we often find ourselves repeating it with a laugh. So cute!

  9. When my son was 7, I got a live hen for his birthday dinner – he decided he wanted to keep the he, a leghorn mix with a taffy collored spot on her back. Of course, her name was Taffy. We had tuna for dinner. He kept that hen as a pet until she passed of old age. She would follow him everywhere!

  10. When we first brought home the chicks my daughter (8 at the time) would sneak them into here room. She would put them in a little dog house that was designed for her dolls. They were so cute together…I am ready to get some more just for the experience even though our current girls are doing great and laying well…

  11. Recently after a fox visited our hen-house, our sons made up a little song which includes observations about hens’ social linguistics. It’s sung to the tune of “Three Blind Mice:”

    “We’re little hennie-poos;
    We like to sing the blues;
    We like to spread the news;
    We’re little hennie-poos.

    A fox jumped out from behind a tree;
    They said ‘You’re fast, but you can’t catch me;
    We’re little hennie-poos.’ “

  12. The other evening, I went out to the hen house to check on something and put some feed out. In one of the recycled dresser drawers that we have been using as nesting boxes was a sight that just made me laugh. Typically the chickens lay their eggs in this box, so I’m use to seeing a chicken there. Tonight, however, there was a full size hen turkey laying in there with Scratch, our full grown, obnoxious Lt. Brahma rooster, laying in front of her like a baby, and at least 3 hens sitting around the other end of the drawer surrounding the turkey. It was quite the sight. It’s funny how when they are raised together, they still want to be cuddled together after they’re grown. I wish I had a picture of it.

  13. We were calling our 12 year old a Chic-Magnet. Our 4 year old thought it was so funny she was laughing. We asked her if she knew what a chic-magnet was and she said yes – it’s a chicken with a magnet.

  14. I grew up hearing the stories about how my mom was the one that would kill the chickens that were to be used for the family meals when she was growing up. My aunt said that it took her no time whatsoever to wring that chicken’s neck. Then I have my own daughter. One Easter, the next door neighbors gave her a purple chicken. That’s nice, but what do you do with it after you get it. I put down newspapers and blocked it in under one of the counters. Of course, the chicken kept growing. It got so big that we could no longer keep it in our home any more. The husband of a friend of mine wanted the chicken, and so we gave it to him. He had that chicken where it would follow him every where that he went on his farm, and he became very fond of that chicken. About a month later, he went out one morning to feed the chicken and could not find it. Later, he discovered that it had been eaten by coyotes. We were all pretty upset.

  15. My great nephew really enjoyed helping with my chickens and bugged his dad until he got chicks of his own. He got to go to the local farm store where I work and pick out his own. He wa only five when he got them and still, 2 years later, takes great care of his chicks and collects his eggs daily as soon as he gets off the scholl bus.He was especially proud of his black hen until it became a rooster. He was visiting our farm and saw a black chick we had and ask if it was a hen. We told him it was as we had bought only pullets that year. He then ask uncle Tom if he would trade the hen for the black rooster. Uncle Tom agreed and the day came to deliver the pullet to him. We could tell he really didn’t want to give up his rooster and we really didn’t want a rooster as we had one that we had raised the year before. We offered to let him keep both chicks and he was estatic. He counts his chickens everyday and one day as he was closing the hen house he had one missing. He told his dad and his dad told him he had miscounted. He continued to bug his dad until he went out and recounted the chickens with him. Sure enough he had one missing. Dad shined his light into a nearby bush and found the hen roosting there. They put it in the coop and Richard was very pleased to have all his chicks in for the night. If our story is picked the book will be a great treat for Richard as he loves everything chicken including the place mats on my table which he asks for everytime he visits. Guess I will soon have to give him those as well as he is hard to resist.

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