Booklist Reviews

PreS-K. The familiar story of the hen unable to get help receives the full Pinkney visual treatment here: meticulously crafted watercolors depicting a cast of unique characters. However, unlike Pinkney's Caldecott Honor Book, Noah's Ark (2002), this story doesn't offer much opportunity for action scenes. Consequently, the spreads are a bit static, focusing on the rat, the goat, the pig, and the dog who refuse to help Hen make the bread but are perfectly willing to share the finished product. The hen appears on the cover, red as an autumn leaf and decked out in a shawl and a hat, but the other animals are truer to their mangy, dirty natures (you can almost smell the goat). The miller who grinds the flour and gives the hen some jam is a nice touch; in fact, he looks a lot like Pinkney. Perfect for reading aloud, this picture book will be a solid addition to the folklore shelves. ((Reviewed March 1, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

Four animals refuse to help a busy hen make bread in a familiar tale elevated by Pinkney's large, sumptuous graphite, ink, and watercolor art. The illustrations beautifully capture the industrious nature of the straw-hatted hen, as well as the indolence of her barnyard compatriots. Rhythmic text and color-coded type make this story about the rewards of cooperation perfect for reading aloud. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews

In this pointed retelling of the familiar tale, Pinkney expands the cast by giving the industrious title bird a bevy of chicks, plus not three but four indolent animal neighbors, all of which are drawn naturalistically and to scale in big, comical farmyard watercolors. The plot follows its usual course: Hen finds the seed, tends and harvests the stand of grain by herself (the artist gives himself a cameo as the kindly miller, who not only grinds the crop, but provides a free jar of berry jam), then bakes an aromatic loaf of bread. The slothful dog, pig, rat and goat are not invited to share. The text too is a bit longer than other versions, maintaining its comfortably predictable structure but with extra detail and comments ("A very busy hen was she!") folded in-perfect, as are the pictures, for sharing with one listener, or a crowd. (Picture book/folktale. 4-7) Copyright Kirkus 2006 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Library Media Connection

This classic old tale, with its message of fairness, is made fresh again by Jerry Pinkney's sparkling illustrations, subtle humor, and the individualized recognition of each animal's special abilities. Different font colors match the animal's color, which is an aid for early readers, as is the repetitive refrain, "Not I!" The amazing color illustrations are done in graphite, ink, and watercolors. A lovely detailed feathered hen and her chicks, as well as realistic, friendly looking farm animals make up the cast of characters. Wonder if that picture of "Mr. Miller" is a Pinkney self-portrait? Readers will note the artist's supplies in the background! This is a wonderful version of a story all young children should know, with simply outstanding artwork. Recommended. Barbara B. Feehrer, Educational Reviewer, Bedford, Massachusetts © 2007 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Caldecott Honor artist Pinkney puts a sprightly spin on this classic tale with resplendent artwork that comically conveys the title character's energy--and her barnyard colleagues' sloth. The little red hen bids a cheerful "Good morning!" to a smiling sun in the luminous opening spread, in which even the garden flowers and fence slats have faces. Kids will gleefully chime in as the lazy animals, rendered realistically at close range, reiterate the familiar "Not I" response to the hen's repeated requests for help. Adding further verve to the spreads, each animal's name appears in a hue that corresponds to its feathers, fur or hide. The fiery heroine pointedly attempts to draft the critters' help by pointing out its defining characteristics (while attempting to draft the dog's aid in planting the seeds, she says, "Surely you will [help].... You are so fond of digging"), making their refusal the more biting. With feathers a-flutter, a determined countenance and straw bonnet tied under her chin, the little red hen cuts quite an appealing figure as she tackles her tasks surrounded by her adorable, fuzzy chicks. She dons a stylish shawl as she sets off--solo--to the mill, where smiling Mr. Miller grounds her grain into flour and presents her with a jar of berry jam. Capturing the contentment of the moment when the little red hen and her brood share the fruits of her labors, the tale's final words are "Oh joy of joys!"--bread and book alike. Ages 4-up. (May)

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School Library Journal Reviews

PreS-Gr 4 -Important lessons of work ethics, initiative, and natural consequence are delivered in the latest addition to what might be considered the "Pinkney classic bookshelf"-a lush, light-filled rendition of a folktale staple. The colorful, feather-full frontispiece features a full-page portrait of the heroine herself, wordlessly inviting children to turn the page with a cunningly crooked wing. You know the story; in this version, the jaunty, straw-hat-wearing Red Hen pops against golden, sun-bleached, full-bleed backgrounds. Her stunning farmyard neighbors dwarf her, emphasizing her stature (both physical and social). But a single mom's got to do what she's got to do to put bread on the table, and so she asks for assistance. She's a smart old bird: she flatters each animal as she appeals to him to use his particular skill (the dog is a fine digger; the rat, a champion chopper; the goat would be great at pulling; and the pig, well, at pigging) to help. Still, she's met with that familiar refrain-"Not I." There's a lot of heart in the details here: Pinkney puts in a self-portrait appearance as hard-working Mr. Miller, and the passage of time is subtly marked by the growth of the hen's five chicks, who begin as balls of yellow fluff and are markedly bigger by story's end. The animal's names appear in color-coded font (red for the hen, brown for the dog, etc.), making it extra-easy even for pre-readers to chime in, and the glorious, generous paintings are a real gift. "Oh joy of joys!"-Kathy Krasniewicz, Perrot Library, Old Greenwich, CT

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