Chook Chook Mei’s Secret Pets written by Wai Chim
Published by University of Queensland Press (UQP)
Chook Chook Mei’s Secret Pets is a delightful story from new children’s author, Wai Chim.
Mei, her brother Guo and mother, Ma try to rebuild their lives after the loss of their father and husband. Ma, now left to run the family farm in China finds animals a hindrance and believes they would be better off concentrating on being rice growers.
Mei, not unlike her father has a special bond with their animals and sees them more as family. But Ma cannot stand the smelly noisy things and sells them all.
As Guo tends the crops out in the field, Mei lay daydreaming in amongst the wildflowers. A strange sound catches her attention. ‘Pip, pip, peep, poo.’ Two tiny balls of yellow down were huddled together in amongst the flowers. Where had they come from? Where was their mother?
Mei watches as the chicks play about in the grass. A hissing sound grows louder signalling danger. A snake approaches ready to strike but is deterred by large raindrops falling from the storm clouds. Mei scoops up the chickens and heads form home, but she must keep them a secret from Ma.
Little the chicken and Lo the rooster settle into their new home, a box in the storage shed hidden far away from Ma.
On the regular family trip to the market Mei encounters a kindly old toy maker who entices her with a magic pinwheel. Ma scolds her for wasting her money on such a useless trinket.
Guo catches his sister frolicking in the field with her chickens but promises to keep her secret. He even builds them a better house to sleep in. But when the chickens escape and head for the house Mei’s secret is revealed and Ma’s not happy. She banishes the chickens from the farm and sells them to the one-eyed butcher leaving Mei totally crushed.
A reluctant trip with her family reunites her with her beloved Little and Lo leaving her frantically searching for a way to buy back her chickens from the frightening one-eyed butcher.
After all her backbreaking efforts to rescue her winged friends Mei is left unrewarded and runs away unable to face Ma and Guo.
A young boy worse off than she shows her kindness that touches her heart. Mei returns the kindness with gifting him her magical pinwheel. Unbeknown to her this kindness will reward her more than should could of ever imagined.
Chook Chook Mei’s Secret Pets is a story of love, devotion and understanding.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Wai Chim
Title: Chook Chook Mei’s Secret Pets
Publisher: University of Queensland Press
ISBN: 978 0 7022 4946 4