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THE RED HEN by Ed Emberley


by Ed Emberley, Rebecca Emberley, illustrated by Ed Emberley, Rebecca Emberley

Age Range: 2 - 5

Pub Date: Oct. 12th, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-59643-492-9
Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Following the success of their Chicken Little (2009), the Emberleys join forces to reinterpret another avian folktale with artwork that is somewhat reminiscent of Byron Barton’s collaged version of the same story, but with a generous helping of zany color and wacky personality thrown in. Throughout the book, bold collages pop against white pages as Red Hen doggedly asks a cat, a rat and a frog to help her bake a cake. “Not I,” the first two respond, in keeping with other retellings, but the frog says “Bribbit,” providing a chuckle for readers. The traditional text is also spiced up with such lines as, “She pretty much knew what was coming…” (which appears after Red Hen has repeatedly asked her lazy companions for help). The ending comes as no surprise when Red Hen decides to eat the cake with her three chicks (unmentioned by the text), excluding the unhelpful animals from the meal. A recipe for “Red Hen’s Simply Splendid Cake” at the end of the book provides readers a delicious extension of this satisfying reading experience. (Picture book/folktale. 2-5)