What the Cluck!
VT Author Sarah Rosedahl's Successful and Cheeky New Book
If you're looking for a humorous and politically-oriented book of chicken cartoons that offers a "Tongue in Beak" view of the current U.S. political and social climate, then What the Cluck is the right place to start turning pages.
Sarah Rosedahl, author and illustrator of coloring books for children and adults, along with a book for children to learn about different chicken breeds, has turned her wit, wisdom, innermost thoughts, and artistic talents toward the current state of politics and society with her latest book, What the Cluck, dedicated to the First Amendment.
They say humor is bipartisan. If true, What the Cluck should appeal to everyone. Certainly the insights derived from Rosedahl's one-page cartoons are complemented by cheeky captions that can be felt readily. Some may chafe, while others may laugh, but there's no denying the razor-sharp wit and wisdom Rosedahl's chickens (and people) deliver in short sound bites. It's as if with each caption the reader can hear the cluck of farmyard hens quizzically asking questions or making statements that resound readily. Rosedahl's hens exhort compassion and caring for their fellow beings in one moment, then, with the turn of a page, skewer the political crassness and divisiveness that has become the order of the day.
In this cartoon it's a young woman walking beside a chicken who raises the mantle of political humor.
The most unique part of this collection of cartoons is in its delivery. The captions are well thought out and funny if not, in some cases, cringeworthy given how far we've traveled of late as a polarized society. The cartoons themselves are simple and nicely designed but by no means are they simplistic. More importantly, the delivery vehicle comes from a particular group of birds who are not readily known for their resonating voices. Thus, the book takes on powerful issues with grace and style as delivered by an underrepresented audience we've not heard much from before. There's no question that Rosedahl's hens depict parallels that mirror society at large, not just in the subject matter, but in who delivers the message. In so doing, What the Cluck punches home its many messages with surprising ease while subtly encouraging new voices in our society to make themselves heard.
Here are just a few of the many cartoons Sarah has illustrated and captioned to give you a taste of what lies between the covers of What the Cluck:
How you translate this one is up to you, but these chickens speak volumes with placards that given them current-day voices that resonate with many people of all backgrounds and ages.
Taking Twitter into the farmyard with understated humor, these two hens must be eggsasperated.
Agnes the chicken defines the Truth in her best schoolmarm array.
Overall, What the Cluck offers a successful look at the current state of politics in our nation, and society as a whole. It delivers a highly interpersonal approach to how society might sell-correct through compassion, humor, and puns that work. It's certainly one woman's perspective, yet also a solid societal introspective that anyone can appreciate and enjoy. Written by an islander who lives up north in the Champlain Islands of Vermont and who loves hanging around with and watching chickens, this book is sure to make you laugh and question many of the new normalcies that have permeated society through the political wavelengths.
Find a copy if you can. You'll be clucking all about it to your friends for a long time!
The author, Sarah Rosedahl, answers some questions from Poetic Licence:
PL: Why chickens?
SR: I am a life-long birder and have always loved watching birds. When we moved to Vermont in 2012 some friends gave us four chickens, then we added nine more chickens and a chicken palace! Our chickens are pets and all have names including Betty White, Chipmunk, Big Wilhelmina, Little Wilhelmina, Big Zelda and Little Zelda. I enjoy just hanging out with the chickens. I find it relaxing and peaceful. They are whimsical, funny especially when they run and both curious and afraid of anything new at the same time.
PL: Why "What the Cluck?"
SR: After the 2016 election I started creating political cartoons. Some with positive messages, some cynical, some funny, some depressing. I just couldn't stop them. I have found it to be a satisfying way to express what is important to me. After I had created about 25 new cartoons, I decided to put together a book. I am donating a percentage of online sales to a different organization each month that is important to me. In November I chose the ACLU. The book is dedicated to the First Amendment.
Sarah Rosedahl has been an artist her entire life, though she did take a 25-year detour as an engineer. She currently works full time as an artist, illustrator, and now a cartoonist!
Sarah has been a guest artist at Long River Gallery & Gifts in White River Junction, VT where her several books can be found. She is the author and illustrator of What the Cluck, Difficult Chickens, Difficult Sheep & Friends, Chickens! Illustrated Chicken Breeds A to Z, Chickens! Illustrated Chicken Breeds A to Z Coloring Book. Sarah is also illustrator for the Sloggers Chicken Collection and Cowabella rain boots and garden shoes.
Dave Celone, author of Poetic Licence, enjoys writing about topics of interest that pertain to the Upper Valley and beyond. Dave Manages Long River Gallery & Gifts in WRJ. Visit for a uniquely wonderful experience. It's a place where more than 150 local Upper Valley VT and NH artists and artisans show their diverse work of art and craft every day. Click Here to sign up to follow Dave each time he posts. Click Here to read Dave's previous article about a whole new eating experience in White River Junction: Trail Break taps & tacos.