Cluck’s Luck is a fable of friendship among a chicken (Cluck), a work horse (Peggy), and a New Hampshire farmer (Foster).
In spring, 1946, Foster receives mail order chicks, including a bonus Black Australorp, at no charge.
Cluck takes her status as a “free chick” literally. The novel follows her expanding moral sensibilities, adventures over the first year of life, evolving affection for Peggy, and her trenchant observations of complex relations between the human farm family and creatures in their charge.
Foster, his wife, Frances, eight-year-old Victor, and twelve-year-old Winifred provide characters with whom nonfictional families can identify.
Similar in tone, diction, and humor to Charlotte’s Web, Cluck’s Luck addresses inevitable conflicts as Cluck and other animals attempt to balance loyalty with their struggle for freedom and justice within the farm context, where life and death issues are ever present.
The story is set on Foster’s farm, except for a period when Cluck escapes and makes her way to an abandoned, neighboring farm where she joins a colony of independent animals. After overwintering there, Cluck concludes that her friendship with Peggy is more valuable than the independence she has attained. She then returns to the farm.
After the children are grown and gone, Frances leaves too. Peggy’s eyesight dims, but with Cluck giving guidance from Peggy’s shoulder and Foster behind with the reins, the three work together for the rest of their lives.