A friend who had been going through a really bad time told me about The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-mi Hwang saying how much she had benefitted from reading it. I felt guilty afterwards that the roles hadn’t been reversed. And that it wasn’t me who was able to introduce to her something so uplifting and enjoyable. The Hen who Dreamed She Could Fly by Hwang, one of South Korea’s most popular authors, is a fable for modern times when it seems individuality and selfishness are lauded, often above all else, and when being different is to be feared. On the surface this novella is about Sprout, a chicken who dreams of hatching a chick of her own. Discarded by the farmer when she ceases laying, Sprout seems destined only for the dinner table or the weasel who picks off the weak and feeds on the dead. But, spurred on by a friend’s selfless act, Sprout cannot be deterred from her desire.
Think Jonathan Livingstone Seagull or Charlotte’s Web blended with a serving of Orwell’s Animal Farm. This charmingly told allegory is about friendship and courage, hope and equality. But, at its heart, lies the overwhelming power of love. The cover and delightful line drawings throughout the book complement the story perfectly and will no doubt make it very attractive to children. No wonder it has sold millions of copies around the world.
The Hen who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-mi Hwang is translated by Chi-Young Kim. Illustrations are by Kazuko Nomoto, and published by Oneworld.