Olympia Urban Chickens Inspire Children’s Book
You can tell a lot about a person by the way they react during times of adversity. Do they succumb to pressure and let outside conditions bring them down? Or do they rise above and make lemonade out of life’s lemons? When I read the story of local residents Andre and Amanda Maxwell I knew instantly they were lemonade people, and that I needed to meet them to learn more about their story and their vision.
Amanda and Andre met some 1,000 miles from Olympia, WA. However, Olympia will forever be a part of their story. Moving from a dry, desert climate to the rainy Northwest is plenty of change for most people. But the Maxwells took on more than just rainy weather when they moved here from Arizona. They quickly fell in love with a little yellow cottage in Olympia’s Eastside Neighborhood. But there was a catch. Whoever moved into the home had to agree to share the property with its current residents, a pair of urban chickens. Excited by the challenge, the Maxwells embarked on a new chapter in their lives with their black lab, Sean Connery, and their new feathered friends, Crimson and Clover.
Life was good. That is until a neighborhood raccoon decided to crash the party. In dramatic fashion, the Maxwells were awoken on a stormy November night to the sound of frantic wings flapping and eerie screeching coming from the chicken coop. One glance out the window was all that was needed to determine the raccoon had won this battle. Their beloved Rhode Island Red chicken, Crimson was no match for the raccoon, and the Maxwells quickly resigned themselves to this reality.
But the next morning, a new reality was already forming in their minds as they began piecing together the happy ending they felt Crimson deserved. In those moments of reflection and imagination a new project was born. The Maxwells set out to tell the story of The Chicken and the Dog and they enlisted the help of a friend, and local illustrator, Jill Carter to help them bring the story to life. The tragedy of losing Crimson to the raccoon would soon be transformed into an inspirational children’s story of friendship, loyalty, and courage.
Now that the tragedy has had time to settle for the Maxwells, they have given their surviving chicken, Clover, a new friend in Crimson 2. They are hoping Crimson 2 learns some survival skills from the elder coop mate. Amanda says “Clover is like the John McLain of chickens”, and she has outwitted another raccoon attack since that fateful night.
Now that The Chicken and the Dog story is completed and ready for print, the Maxwells and Carter are already thinking ahead to the possibility of more adventures for Sean Connery and his feathered entourage. “They’re going on vacation,” Amanda says. “They’re going to the beach.” And considering the dreary March weather out there and the adventure the story’s stars have already been through, a vacation sounds like a great idea.
In order to publish the book a fundraising campaign is underway on Kickstarter. The $3,000 goal has already been met, but their campaign is still open for contributions until Saturday, March 24th. If you are anxious to get your hands on the first edition of the book, hot off the presses, you can pre-order your softback copy for only $15.
You can meet the people behind the story and see some of the work that went into the beautiful illustrations during Arts Walk next month at The Popinjay.