From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 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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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. Ilene CooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved