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Children's Fiction Country & Ethnic

Hen for Izzy Pippik, A

by (author) Aubrey Davis

illustrated by Marie Lafrance

Kids Can Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2012
Country & Ethnic, Other
Recommended Age
4 to 8
Recommended Grade
p to 3
Recommended Reading age
4 to 8
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2012
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2024
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jan 2014
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


When Shaina finds a magnificent hen, she knows that Izzy Pippik, the hen's owner, is sure to return for her. In the meantime, Shaina decides she will care for the animal. But when dozens of eggs hatch and rowdy chickens scatter throughout the village, Shaina must fight the entire town if she has any hope of protecting the birds. Inspired by Jewish and Islamic traditional texts, this is a beautiful tale about doing the right thing, even in the face of adversity.

About the authors

Before writing and telling stories, Aubrey Davis raised goats, sawed logs and sold antiques. As a young man he traveled across Europe and North Africa, where he discovered traditional Teaching-Stories collected by Afghan writer Idries Shah, of which he said: “These bottomless tales provoked, puzzled and delighted me. They helped me look at things in fresh, new ways.” Aubrey began to tell these stories in nursing homes, schools, festivals, libraries and jails, and on radio and television. For 40 years, he told traditional stories to people of all ages across North America. He also taught oral language for 17 years to primary and special needs students. Aubrey passed away in 2022.

Aubrey Davis' profile page


Marie Lafrance est née à Québec. Après des études en graphisme et un long séjour aux États-Unis, elle décide de se consacrer à l'illustration. Ses œuvres lui ont valu des nominations au prix du Gouverneur général et elle a remporté le Prix Ruth et Sylvia Schwartz de littérature jeunesse pour le livre Une poule pour Izzy Pippik qu'elle a illustré. Marie vit à Montréal.


MARIE LAFRANCE has spent her whole life drawing pictures, at first to keep from biting her nails, then for magazines, newspapers, posters, billboards and board games. Now she illustrates picture books, including The Lady with the Books, Oscar Lives Next Door, and Bunny the Brave War Horse. Her book A Hen for Izzy Pippik won the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award. Marie lives in Montreal, Quebec.


Marie Lafrance's profile page


  • Short-listed, Great Lakes Great Books, Michigan Reading Association
  • Short-listed, Shining Willow Award, Saskatchewan Young Readers' Choice Award
  • Winner, Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award
  • Winner, Best Children's Books of the Year, Bank Street Children's Book Committee
  • Winner, Best Books for Kids & Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre
  • Long-listed, Best Bets, Picture Books, Ontario Library Association

Editorial Reviews

Steadfast and quietly amusing, Shaina is a girl to admire.—Kirkus Reviews

A great story that illustrates how a child who sees the world in black and white is introduced to shades of grey, with the help of her grandfather.—The Victoria Times Colonist

Lafrance deserves a special shout-out for her work-she proves once again that she's a rare talent who can combine naïf rendering with a highly sophisticated and consistently inventive sense of composition.—Publisher's Weekly

... charmingly told with pleasing conversational patterns and alliteration. ... A good choice where folktales or character education stories are in demand.—School Library Journal

Traditional Talmudic and Islamic texts form the bones of the story, which is delivered with a deft and witty touch.—Jewish Book World

This is a book to savor and reread ...—Booklist

Librarian Reviews

A Hen for Izzy Pippik

Times are difficult in little Shaina’s town. Then a chicken — resplendent with emerald green feathers and golden speckles — appears on her doorstep. When Shaina discovers a broken crate with a sign that reads “Izzy Pippik Chickens and Eggs,” she begs her family not to devour the hen, but to protect her until Izzy Pippik returns to claim his property. She even names the bird Yevka. Days, weeks and months pass, but the errant Izzy does not appear.

Yevka gives birth to a proliferating flock of chickens which, too, are safeguarded at Shaina’s insistence. “Hundreds of chickens flapped about the square. They toppled trashcans, fought for food and cackled from morning to night. They grew rowdier by the day, and the people’s grumbles grew with them.” The rancour dissipates when curious sightseers, arriving by the busload, bring prosperity back to the town. Izzy Pippik finally returns, only to present Yevka to Shaina and the hen’s descendants to the townsfolk in a spirit of generosity that matches the little girl’s honesty.

Inspired by Talmudic and Islamic folklore, Aubrey Davis has written a memorable story that will resonate with young readers. In spite of pressure from by poverty-stricken adults, Shaina remains steadfastly determined to do what is correct. When Izzy maintains that he is owed only the one hen, the young heroine counters with “These are her chicks, her chicks’ chicks and her chicks’ chicks’ chicks. If she’s yours, they’re all yours.”

The voice of a storyteller is at play in this book. The strong sense of place, the rich language, the gentle humour and the subtle wisdom create such vibrant images that Davis’s writing could easily stand on its own. However, Marie Lafrance’s pencil illustrations, coloured in Photoshop, add magic to the text. Her interpretations of the characters and the town will encourage readers to look and look again. Although the illustrations are stylistically naive, there is nothing simple about them. They are truly enchanting.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Summer 2012. Volume 35 No. 3.

A Hen for Izzy Pippik

When a hen belonging to Izzy Pippik arrives on Shaina’s doorstep, she decides to care for it until Izzy comes back to claim it. Believing that the eggs belong to Izzy and all the chickens that hatch from those eggs belong to Izzy, the town eventually becomes overrun with chickens. How long can the townspeople put up with all these chickens? This title is also available in French as Une poule pour Izzy Pippik.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Spring, 2012.

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