Caroline Arnold's Books

Home My Books Behind the Story Children's Projects School Visits / Teaching Awards About the Author
Author: Caroline Arnold

In 21 days, chicks will hatch in Room 6! A hen laid the eggs. Mrs. Best brought them to school and put them in an incubator. Soon the chicks will PECK, PUSH, and POP! right out of their shells. The kindergarteners are counting down to hatching day. When it happens, they'll be ready.

Follow a classroom of kindergartners as they participate in a popular activity: hatching chicks. Readers learn about the life cycle of a chicken, incubating eggs, watching them hatch, and raising the chicks until they are old enough to return to the chicken coop.

Simple text and close-up photographs tell the story. Back matter includes answers to questions about chicks, chick vocabulary, links to chicks online and further reading about chicks.

Curriculum Links
  • Language Arts: comprehension strategy--compare and contrast, main idea/details strategy, cause and effect relationships
  • Science: Life science--animal growth and development

  • Teaching Ideas: Click HERE for an extensive list of excellent teaching ideas by Erika Thulin Dawes at the SLJ Classroom Bookshelf

  • Reading Strategies and STEM Projects Click HERE to read my guest post at Patricia Newman's LitLinks blog

Prizes and Awards
  • Cybils Award for Elementary Non-fiction, 2018
  • Junior Library Guild, Premier Selection 2017
  • CRA Eureka! Honor Award, 2017

Children's Projects

Time Line: Make a time line of a chick's development inside the egg and for three weeks after hatching.

How many days to grow a chick? Click here for a coloring page to count and color the eggs and chick.

  1. Chick and Egg Cut-Out Craft Hatching Chicks Project

    Cut out and color a chick popping out of its egg. Click here. for a printable outline of a chick that you can color and cut out. Click here. for a printable outline of the egg.

Related Books by Caroline Arnold
  • A Penguin's World (Capstone, 2015) Learn how penguin chicks hatch and grow up in Antarctica.
  • House Sparrows Everywhere(Carolrhoda, 1992) Follow a family of house sparrows as they build a nest, lay eggs, and raise chicks.
  • Ostriches(Lerner, 2001 An Earlybird Nature Book) Learn about ostriches and see an egg hatch.
  • Saving the Peregrine Falcon(Carolrhoda, 1985 A Nature Watch Book) Learn how scientists are helping peregrines hatch their eggs.

Booklist, December 1, 2016
Readers are in for a treat as they join Mrs. Best and her kindergarten class for their egg-hatching project, aka the most adorable class project ever. Mrs. Best has brought a variety of chicken eggs–brown, white, speckled–from her backyard coop to an incubator in her classroom in order to teach her students about how chicks grow. The informative text is augmented by copious photo illustrations, including a diagram of the different parts of an egg, a demonstration of candling (placing a fertilized egg over a light to see inside it) and eventually the fluffy chicks themselves. The book documents how Mrs. Best's diverse class counts down the 21 days until the eggs hatch, the hatching process, and the first month of the chicks' lives, detailing their care and growth, and nesting quick facts in egg-shaped ovals throughout. Readers will come away with a good understanding of chickens' origins and will likely want to rush off to hatch an egg of their own, but Arnold wisely cautions that chickens do not make good pets. (Julia Smith)

Kirkus, November 15, 2016
It's a lucky kindergartner who gets to witness the miracle of life through the incubation of eggs. Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Best raises chickens at home and is teaching her diverse group of students about chickens and eggs. In brilliant close-up photographs, readers see the students wide-eyed faces as they learn about incubation, the parts of the egg, the egg tooth, and everything else about the 21-day cycle of egg to chick. The easy-to-read narrative follows the days to hatching and the first weeks of life in the classroom. On many pages, the classroom story is supplemented by scientific information set in faux hand-written type in egg-shaped callouts. Teachers who are contemplating bringing eggs (and their eventual chicks) into the classroom will learn much here. Ample backmatter will help to answer any additional chicken questions for the especially interested teacher or student, including some tricky ones. For example, she broaches the truth that only 50 to 80 percent of incubated eggs hatch, and she makes it clear that chicks are not good house pets. Arnold captures the joy and mystery of this familiar unit of study. (glossary, websites, bibliography) (Informational picture book, 4-8)

Publishers Weekly, November 21, 2016
Through photographs and direct, unadorned writing, Arnold takes readers to a (real-life) kindergarten class in Los Angeles, where the teacher, Mrs Best, brings in eggs from the chickens she keeps at her home. As the children tend to the eggs, keeping track of the 21-day incubation cycle on a calendar, readers learn about the parts of an egg and how a chick develops inside. Finally, the eggs begin to hatch: "Little by little, the shell begins to crack. It is like unzipping a zipper." Arnold's photographs clearly show the children observing, feeding, and learning how to hold the chicks, which eventually return to Mrs. Best's house. A glossary and answers to common questions ("When you eat an egg, are you eating a baby chick?" "Do chickens make good pets?") conclude this up-close look at where chickens–-and their eggs–-come from. Ages 3-7.

School Library Journal, December, 2016
Through the excellent use of colorful up-close photos, Arnold captures the excitement of hatching chicks in a real kindergarten class. She documents the 21-day journey from incubation to birth, and growth to maturity; the science behind the process; and the delight and wonder of Mrs. Best's diverse group of students. The classroom in which the project occurs will likely be familiar to many readers; projects and artwork adorn the walls standard school furniture makes up the room, etc. The energy of Mrs. Best's students is palpable, and readers are invited to share in the spectacle and surprise of the first hatched chick. Asides provide additional information on the different parts of an egg, what chicken mash is, and more. A glossary explains unfamiliar terms, such as candling and wattle. Back matter offers further questions for readers to contemplate. VERDICT A first purchase for use as a read-aloud in science curricula on chickens and the life cycle. (Eva Elisabeth VonAncken, formerly at Trinity-Pawling School, Pawling, NY)

Amazon Customer Review, March 26, 2017
Caroline Arnold is a go-to author for me because her writing for children is always clear and cohesive. In this book, Arnold includes a narrative of a class engaged in incubating chicken eggs and then taking care of the chicks along with non-narrative details - in captions and so forth - that provide information about the development of chicks, the physical features of chickens, the parts and purposes of an incubator, materials required to take care of chicks, the care of chicks and so forth. There are also helpful author notes at the end. The layout and design of the book is kid-friendly and the format lends itself to being read aloud and then placed in the classroom library for further perusal. If you and your students are raising chicks, you could reread specific sections during your own experience and make predictions about what your students might observe or see next with the development of the chick eggs or chicks in our own classroom. This book could easily be used as a mentor text for students or classes to write about their own experiences.I was worried about whether Arnold would discuss the importance of the chicks having a home beyond the classroom - this was not an issue. The teacher, Mrs. Best, raises chickens at home and took the chicks back to her house at the appropriate time. Sunday Cummins, Educational Consultant and Author

BCCB Reviews
This photoessay follows Los Angeles kindergarten teacher Jennifer Best as she shares her enthusiasm for raising chickens with her young students. Best brings in the fertilized eggs and an incubator, and over the next two months the kids (and, by extension, Arnold's audience) learn about and observe first hand the development of the embryos, the exhausting work of hatching, and the first weeks of the chicks' lives. The chonological narration keeps readers invested, while egg-shaped insets add information or context as needed. It's close-up photographs, though, that will make this a class pleaser, with views of hardware, cages and feed, eggs cracking open, and of course bedraggles little hatchlings and the adorable little fluffballs they become. A Q&A on all things chicken, a glossary, and lists of kid-friendly print and online resources are included. Forward-thinking carnivores in the audience may wonder what will happen to these chicks, but Arnold simply concludes, "In about five months the roosters will be able to crow. The hens will start laying eggs. Perhaps next year some of their eggs will come back to school and hatch into new chicks." Fair enough. —BCCB Reviews