HENNY-PENNY by Jane Wattenberg


Age Range: 5 - 8
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’Tis the season for sassy retellings of classic tales, as in Marjorie Priceman’s Froggie Went A-Courting (see above). Wattenberg recasts the “sky is falling” routine into a version that kids familiar with rap and hip-hop will immediately comprehend. When whacked on the head with an acorn, that fine red hen Henny-Penny squawks, “Chickabunga! The sky is falling! It’s coming on down! I must run and tell the King.” And so she heads out, picking up rooster Cocky-Locky, Ducky-Lucky, and Drake-Cake, Goosey-Loosey and Gander-Lander (that Glam-Gal and that He-Hunk) and so on even unto Turkey-Lurkey. But Foxy-Loxy lures them astray with promises of a shortcut to the King, so only Henny-Penny escapes. (The back cover illustration muses, “Was it REALLY all my fault?”) The pictures are photomontages of actual fowl belonging to the author with key images—a golden crown, Stonehenge, the Tower of Pisa, the Parthenon, among other famous architectural wonders—set in a wild landscape that ranges from craggy hills to forest glens. The text works with italics, all capitals, boldface, and rubrication to keep the energy going. And while Henny-Penny never did tell the King the sky was falling, she does lay one humongous egg. Sure to evoke lots of giggling at story hour. (Picture book/folktale. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-439-07817-2
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2000


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