LEFTY DUCKS AND CHICKENS OF THE WORLD UNITE!

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, Jan/Feb 1994:

Lefty’s Place, by Lewis G. Nierman. Kindness
Publications (1859 N. Pine Island Rd., #135, Plantation,
FL 33322), 1993. 32 pages, hardcover, $18.95.
Nature’s Chicken, by Dr. Nigel Burroughs.
Distributed by United Poultry Concerns (POB 59367,
Potomac, MD 20859). 36 pages, paperback, $5.95.
Neither battery-caged chickens nor the feral
Muscovy ducks of Florida have many human friends. As
with bears and whales, children may be among the first and
most ardent to take up their cause. Certainly Lewis
Neirman and Nigel Burroughs hope so. Neirman approach-
es his young audience with a lavishly produced picture-
book, aimed at grades 2-5, which has a reasonable chance
of getting into school libraries as a friendly introduction not
only to Muscovy ducks but also to the broader subjects of
wildlife rehabilitation and coping with disability. Leftys
Place actually begins with a family’s adoption of Lefty’s
mother, Keppy, Lefty, the runt of her ducklings, suffers a
severe foot injury. The daughter of the family, Rebecca,
rehabilitates him to the extent that he can be rehabilitated,
then makes him a pet. Most children will enjoy the story;
those who are themselves recovering from illness or injury
may particularly take heart from it.

Burroughs’ Nature’s Chicken more resembles the
heavy-handed cartoon parables that Marxists used to pass
out to workers in the belief that they weren’t becoming radi-
calized only because they couldn’t read heavy polemics. In
particular, it resembles the radical edition of the children’s
story The Little Red Hen, which got all versions of the story
banned from many schools during the McCarthy Era. The
burlesque comes complete with a red cover, indictments of
greedy capitalists and farmers (the “kulaks” whom Stalin
tried to purge), and mad scientists hellbent on serving
Capital, hang the consequences. Militant vegans may give
this to their children. Other folks (if they remember
Communism) are more likely to call the cops.
––M.C.
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