On the back cover where reviewer’s comments belong, I didn’t have any reviews from people, so my chickens provided their own reviews for “The Bottle Cap Lady” and “How to Explain Christmas To Chickens.”

Emily had this to say: “I enjoyed the whole book. Pearl’s Comedy Coop was the funniest, but The Chicken Freak Show was the scariest. I always had to hide my head under a wing when we got to those parts.”

This chapter was one that almost did not make it into the final story because what happened in Pearl’s dream can be scary, at least to chickens, but I believe it has a lot to say about a special kind of love that gives everything it has to give.

I just wanted everyone to know in case they have sensitive young readers or story listeners (like my Emily).

The Terrifying Chicken Freak Show 

Sorry, but“The Terrifying Chicken Freak Show” proved to be a little too terrifying and a little too jarringly inconsistent with the rest of the book. Rewriting is a must!


Here is a huge “THANK YOU!” to everyone who read Saturday’s posted chapter and commented. Sunday I reread all of the way back from the beginning and when I got to that chapter, it truly felt out of place and very jarring. It was a bit as if someone else had inserted a fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm, and so I worked on a rewrite which you will find below. It keeps the good parts, cuts out the scary parts and also helps to make some connections to things which happened earlier in the book and prepares for action to happen later. There was also nothing in the original version to help anyone who has bad dreams, so I’ve tried to include advice there too.

35 thoughts on “The Terrifying Chicken Freak Show

    1. Oh, I’m so sorry that it upset you. This chapter contains a dream in which Pearl faced her fears and discovered that she has a special self-sacrificing love in her heart. The worst actual thing that The Bottle Cap Lady ever does in the story is when she steals a few eggs. In the end, Pearl and The Bottle Cap Lady actually become friends. Again, I’m sorry that it upset you, and she is not a real person, just a compilation of several people I’ve known over time. Thank you, John

      Liked by 2 people

    1. So do you think I should edit it down? Or leave it out? Even though it really was all a dream? (In the real non-dream action, the worst thing that The Bottle Cap Lady really does is to steal a few eggs.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As a kid I always appreciated when a movie or book took a little side turn in the darkness (think the boat ride in Willie Wonka) but I understand too that times have changed (I watched WW on TV last Thanksgiving and the boat ride scene was cut!) so your decision probably makes sense.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Would you say too terrifying? I am wondering if it should be edited down some. If not in the unillustrated version (for older readers), then perhaps in the illustrated version (for younger readers). Your perspective and insights are always valued!


      1. Thank you! You may have noticed The Bottle Cap Lady is wearing an “I ❤️ cookies” apron in one illustration. Anyone who loves baking cookies can’t be all bad! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, me too. That’s why I wanted to share it here and get some feedback. It’s been a while since I was in teaching in a classroom. I know things change, and there are a lot of scary things out there. Just not sure how this compares. Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I don’t know, John. I love the ending, but the oil and threat of death I can’t associate with Pearl and her sisters. Introducing death and dying, especially in a vat of oil, to kids seems a step further than I could go. I’ve always looked forward to, and love, your message of love at the end of each post, and I’ve enjoyed the other stories of frights the girls have had, but this one makes me sad. But, I’m a sentimental old softie 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Will. I absolutely 100% appreciate what you’ve said. this morning, I started reworking that chapter, and this afternoon, I’ve reread everything from the beginning up to this chapter, and even within the context of the story leading up to this section, it is very jarring. It also seems very out of place. I’me very glad that the few copies out there are all eBook versions which can be edited and then downloaded again. Perhaps the content of the dream is best left to the reader’s own imagination? Thanks again, you’re a real friend for telling me what I needed to hear!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It was a bit dark in its original form, certainly better to rewrite it, although one passage I thought was very good:
    “The dream always started with darkness. It was a darkness so dark it left Pearl thirsty for light. She would give any and all of the treasures she had collected for just a small bit of light to be able to see even a little.”

    Liked by 1 person

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