A hedgehog with sharp quills shows up in the barnyard one day and nobody knows how he got there. The chickens, ducks, and geese are suspicious of this stranger. Soon their fear gathers into a ball of paranoia which sweeps through the place. Rumors spread about fewer worms to find and the possibility of missing chicks or eggs. The rooster says: "We have to protect ourselves against prickly invaders!"

So the community decides to build a wall around the henhouse so that no wild animals will be able to get inside of it. After completing the task, they are in for a big surprise that shocks them into a more loving and sane answer to their fears.

The Chickens Build a Wall is written and illustrated by Jean-Francois Dumont and suitable for children ages 4 to 8 years. We live in a world where there is a great amount of fear, distrust, and hatred of strangers. Dumont has written a convincing parable for children about the folly and the danger of allowing our paranoia to get the best of us. Instead of building more walls we should be dismantling them. Then we could expend our energies on opening our hearts and communities to strangers rather than separating ourselves from them. We might even find that we have more in common with them than we ever imagined!