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BIG FAT HEN by Keith Baker


by Keith Baker & illustrated by Keith Baker

Age Range: 2 - 7

Pub Date: March 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-15-292869-3
Publisher: Harcourt

 In vibrant full-bleed spreads, a boldly graphic rendition of ``1, 2, buckle my shoe,'' with the numbers from 1 to 10 enacted by the ``big fat hen'' and her friends and their hatching chicks. The spread for each couplet's first line features a decoratively individualized hen with an appropriate number of insects and eggs; in the second, the eggs have hatched and the chicks carry out the action described. The bright, uncluttered acrylic illustrations are rendered in saturated tones strongly outlined in black on a ground of golden yellow, making the figures especially easy to count, while large square pages and bouncy hand lettering add to the visual effectiveness. After the basic rhyme is complete, however, the book's internal logic falters. Six hens are counted, then ``all their eggs'' are presented: 50, i.e., 20 more than appear within the rhyme, while the chicks that hatch from them number only 49. Still, the art is gorgeous. (Picture book. 2-7)