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The Little Red Hen
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
What's the story?
Is it any good?
For generations, kids have enjoyed participating in this fable, with its fun repetition, and the same should be true in this LITTLE RED HEN by Jerry Pinkney. Illustrations are classical Pinkney, and his realistic, sensitive watercolors are large on the page. The round pig is mud-streaked sloth itself, the goat is a wiry whiner, and the rat lurks in beady-eyed mischief. As a fun touch, Pinkney adds a self-portrait as the kind-hearted miller.
All of the animals are colorful, delicately drawn, and so expressive. Even their eyes change from the time they gather around the hen, each pleading his case, to the moment they turn away, shirking any responsibility. With art like this to his name, it's no surprise that Jerry Pinkney has won five Caldecott Medals, five Coretta Scott King Awards, and three New York Times Ten Best Illustrated Awards, among many other honors.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the phrase "not I," or rather shout it at the appropriate times in this fun read-aloud story. Why do you think the other animals say this to the Little Red Hen instead of helping out? Do you think the Little Red Hen should have shared in the end, even though no one helped her? You may enjoy trying different endings and seeing which one fits you best. This might lead to discussion of cooperation and whether working together is helpful. When do you like help? What do you do when no one will give you a hand? When do you think you should help?