Spunky Mama Hen searches high and low for the very best location for her egg.
This simple pattern story sees the hen locating a spot to lay her egg and then quickly rejecting it due to a commonly understood animal danger. “A cave looks cozy,” but the view of a snake coiled up inside marks it an inappropriate nesting place. The cat stalks the peaceful meadow; a porcupine has claimed the bed of leaves; a fox creeps through the tall grass. Placement of relevant text on the same page as the potential threat keeps tension at a minimum. Bright, loose watercolors occasionally allow the white background to show through, creating energy, while whimsical black outlines show motion, texture and attitude. Very observant readers will enjoy spotting small details, including a reappearing ladybug. Poor Mama Hen’s desperation is effectively conveyed in a surreal, spiraling spread. A page turn reveals what many readers may not find to be the perfect nest: “the tippy-top of the tallest mountain,” which looks like it is about to crumble into the sea. No matter; the chick hatches almost instantaneously.
The low word count and brisk pace make this tale suitable for younger readers, though its adherence to visual logic is a little iffy. (Picture book. 2-5)