Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Grade: 9 to 10
Woefield Farm is a sprawling thirty acres of scrub land, complete with dilapidated buildings and one half-sheared, lonely sheep named Bertie. It’s “run”—in the loosest possible sense of the word—by Prudence Burns, an energetic, well-intentioned twenty-something New Yorker full of back-to-the-land ideals, but without an iota of related skills or experience. Prudence, who inherited the farm from her uncle, soon discovers that the bank is about to foreclose on Woefield Farm, which means that she has to turn things around, fast. But fear not! She’ll be assisted by Earl, a spry seventy-something, banjo-playing foreman with a distrust of newfangled ideas and a substantial family secret; Seth, the alcoholic, celebrity-blogging boy-next-door who hasn’t left the house since a scandal with his high school drama teacher; and Sara Spratt, a highly organized eleven-year-old looking for a home for her prize-winning chickens, including one particularly randy fellow soon to be christened Alec Baldwin.
Full of off-beat charm and characters you won’t soon forget, The Woefield Poultry Collective is a heartwarming novel about learning how to take on a challenge, facing your fears and finding friendship in the most unlikely of places.
About the author
SUSAN JUBY is the author of the critically acclaimed Getting The Girl and Another Kind Of Cowboy, as well as the bestselling Alice series (Alice, I Think; Miss Smithers; Alice MacLeod, Realist at Last) and her latest novel for adults, The Woefield Poultry Collective. After dropping out of fashion college and attaining a BA from the University of British Columbia, Susan went to work in the book industry. She holds a master’s degree in publishing. She currently lives on Vancouver Island with her husband, James, and their dog, who prefers to remain anonymous. Visit her online at susanjuby.com.
The Woefield Poultry CollectivePrudence Burns is a New Yorker who’s inherited Woefield Farm from her uncle. When the bank decides to foreclose on the farm, Prudence, with the help of a foreman who distrusts newfangled ideas, an alcoholic celebrity-blogging boy-next-door and a highly organized 11-year-old in search of a home for her prize-winning chickens, must turn things around.
Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Fall, 2012.
Seems too pleased with itselfhttp://www.cozylittlebookjournal.com/2012/05/woefield-poultry-collective-by-susan.html
If I could see Susan Juby's bookshelves at home, I wouldn't be surprised to find copies of Jonathan Franzen's Freedom, Sue Monk Kidd's Life of Bees, Shaffer and Barrows' The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and maybe several volumes by Sophie Kinsella. It's not that her novel is derivative per se, it's just that it seems very influenced by some of the folksy, so-quirky-it's-adorable novels with hapless characters and back-to-nature themes that have been so popular in recent years. That's not to say that I don't like those novels. With the exception of Jonathan Franzen, I've read and enjoyed all of the authors I mentioned above (I hated Freedom. Hated it. HATED IT.). But one thing that separates Susan Juby from most of those authors is that she doesn't seem to like any of her characters very much. Prudence, the city dweller turned sustainable farmer, is so clueless she doesn't seem to have any other qualities; Earl, the farm hand and secret musician, is more of a caricature of a lazy grump than a real character; Seth, the twenty-year-old alcoholic blogger, is just a whiny brat; and Sara, the oddly religious chicken enthusiast kid, is judgmental and annoying. It's not just that I find the characters unlikable, it's that the author seems to be laughing at them. Haha what silly awful people I've created. What hilarious situations can I put them in? I don't think Susan Juby actually had anything to say with this novel. All in all, it makes for a book that is readable but shallow.