A mother’s love knows no bounds. Sprout longs to share that love with her own child, but as an egg-laying hen she has never been allowed to hatch one of her eggs and raise a chick. She longs to “fly the coop” and live in the barnyard with a family of her own, but is trapped in her cage. Oddly, hope arrives when the farmer’s wife discovers that Sprout can no longer produce eggs.
Culled with the other worn-out hens, Sprout manages to escape both the Hole of Death and the weasel with the help of a friendly mallard, Straggler. Chased from the barnyard by the other animals, Sprout finds an unattended egg nearby. For reasons unknown to Sprout, Straggler provides for her as she cares for her adopted egg. It is not until her chick develops into a duckling that Sprout understands Straggler and the paternal sacrifice he made.
Sun-mi Hwang’s international best-seller tells the story of a father’s ultimate sacrifice for his family and a mother’s nurturing love and self-denial. Simple, yet profound, this book speaks to the heart about family loyalty, the depth of parental love and the fulfillment that only a total gift of self can bring.
Jennifer Minicus is a mother and teacher currently living in Ridgewood, NJ.