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A HEN, A CHICK AND A STRING GUITAR by Margaret Read MacDonald


by Margaret Read MacDonald, illustrated by Sophie Fatus

Age Range: 2 - 6

Pub Date: May 1st, 2005
ISBN: 1-84148-796-1
Publisher: Barefoot

Warning: This Chilean folktale-inspired read-aloud (and song) will have preschoolers oinking and mooing ’til the cows come home. What begins as a simple gift of a red hen from Grandpa to his poncho-wearing grandson explodes into a menagerie of 16 pets when the boy receives more animals—and nature takes its course. Opportunities for an at-home barnyard ruckus abound here, as each spread’s text repeats the pattern of the first: “Grandpa gave me a clucking red hen. / ‘Cluck! Cluck! Cluck! Cluck! Cluck!’ / Ay! Ay! Ay! What a fine hen! / ‘Cluck! Cluck! Cluck! Cluck! Cluck!’ / One day that hen / Gave me a chick. / I had a hen, / And I had a chick. / Ay! Ay! Ay! Ay! Ay! / How I loved my two little pets!” The story becomes cumulative as the duck has a duckling, the dog has a puppy, etc. In the end, the boy plays his three-string guitar (“Plunk!”) and all 16 pets dance in the moonlight. The colorful, folk-art style of the acrylic and pastel paintings echoes the simple, cheerful cacophony of the story. (audio CD) (Picture book. 2-6)