The Gracie Press
The author: John Spiers is a writer, artist, and “dad” to a small flock of chickens who live in the center of his backyard garden.
While he often produced small writing and drawing project over the years, he never found his creative niche until he decided to raise some baby chicks. They became the characters in his stories and the subjects of his drawings. Now they are his friends, and he spends time with them each evening under the shade of the camellias bordering his backyard garden.
His stories occur in the intersection where the world of people meets the world of chickens. It is an intersection where the unexpected can happen. Chickens can talk with people who truly love them. They can also dance ballet and even put on backyard comedy shows.
His work seeks to share the same joy he feels with his chickens along with bits of timeless “chicken wisdom” about life which he has learned from them.
Seasons of Friendship: A “My Life With Gracie” Story Collection
The book: You can learn a lot from a chicken, especially a chicken like Gracie! Timid and shy, Gracie stayed mostly to herself and away from the other young chicks. Without her best friend, Bessie, she may never have survived those difficult first weeks.
The stories in this collection take place over a single year and tell how a group of chickens became a family of friends. Scattered throughout are bits of “chicken wisdom.” Some are easy to spot, and others may need some scratching and pecking to find. Journey through “Seasons Of Friendship” with Gracie and her friends and see how her transformation “from least to leader” unfolds in their beautiful garden home.
Based on the author’s experiences with raising his own backyard chickens, this book will hopefully have you saying, “I wish I had a friend like Gracie.”
My thoughts: This is such a charming intro to the Gracie stories, a series of “modestly illustrated” stories about a winsome flock of chickens, and their wise and witty owner/shepherd/wise guide. The author had hoped to be a fine artist, but hadn’t anticipated that his most compelling work would be about endearing chickens.
This small book (available as an ebook through Amazon) is indeed divided by seasons. Each one contains three stories about friendship, abundance, beauty, being real, patience true prosperity, anticipation, etc. Each story ends with a big of “chicken wisdom” The illustrations are just dear, with a specific flower for each. At the end, all of the chickens are introduced, the meaning of each flower chosen, and the wondrous story about how these dear chicken stories began.
How to Explain Christmas to Chickens
The book: Pearl never quite fit in or felt accepted. After losing Blanche, her only friend, Pearl’s unstoppable curiosity leads her to explore her neighborhood to find out what Christmas is all about. She secretly visits The Bottle Cap Lady who has more Christmas lights and decorations than anyone. Pearl learns there is a gift only she can give to The Bottle Cap Lady, but will Pearl give up her Christmas wish to help someone who has nothing to give in return?
My thoughts: I can hardly wait for my granddaughter to become old enough to appreciate these winsome stories and their compelling stories. No, I didn’t find Gracie’s ballet slippers, nor the three friendship hearts, not even The Bottle Cap Lady’s real name. I’m saving those delicacies for Kate.
Did you know that “Sometimes you have to be a foolishly extravagant and generous giver”? Pearl the not-so-normal Chicken clucks that wisdom, and more. John Spiers’ Gracie and Bessie and Emily and Amelia chicken stories are just delightful, at any age.
A Most Wondrous Place
The book: Timid and shy, Gracie stayed mostly to herself and away from the other young chicks. Without her best friend, Bessie, she may never have survived those difficult first weeks. But from the beginning, Gracie was sure her new backyard garden home was “A Most Wondrous Place,” and that was one of the first things she said to the author as they sat together in the cool of the evening.
But A Most Wondrous Place is more than a garden filled with beautiful flowers and delicious vegetables. It is more than somewhere that chickens can dance ballet and talk with people who love them. Even though Gracie could share a great deal of chicken wisdom with the author, explaining what A Most Wondrous Place means is simply something she could not do because it is only understood with the heart.
Journey with Gracie and the author through a single year and learn how a group of chickens became a family of friends. You will also find scattered throughout are bits of “chicken wisdom.” Some are easy to spot, and others may need some scratching and pecking to find. Most importantly, you will also discover along with the author what chickens mean when they say, “This is A Most Wondrous Place.”
Based on the author’s experiences with raising his own backyard chickens, this book will hopefully have you saying, “I now have A Most Wondrous Place.”
My thoughts: What a sweet way to talk about friendship, caring, acceptance, and more. Listed as a Christian children’s book, it may contain biblical principals but it’s just a gentle story about the author’s delightful flock of chickens. My grandmother enjoyed raising chickens and now I have an inkling why. A few of hers also had names.
I got out an old chicken waterer and a couple of my own chicks so they could meet Gracie and Bessie and the others. The book takes the flock through good times and scary times, month by month, but our granddaughter (age 4) probably isn’t old enough to appreciate it yet. The drawings, also by the author, are winsome.
Gracie Press even has a newsletter.