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Hen Hears Gossip Hardcover – April 22, 2008

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

What goes around comes around in this charmingly illustrated, comical barnyard tale with a message. Hen loves gossip. After overhearing Cow talking to Pig, she can’t resist telling others the news: “Sadie the dog has a thorn!” Word passes quickly from Duck to Goose to Turkey, who repeats the dismayingly altered message back to Hen: “You’re lazy, fat, and ate all the corn!” Hen and friends backtrack through the misheard gossip and discover how much they have misunderstood. The simple prose incorporates capitals and punctuation that offer guidance for animated read-alouds. The colorful, mixed-media collages, evoking Leo Lionni’s work, blend bold, blocky shapes with vivid, intricate patterns and textures. Children will enjoy the farcical fun, reminiscent of the classic game of Telephone, of following the original phrase as it progressively morphs (“The crazy bat raced a storm!” “A lady yak was born?”), and they’ll appreciate the message about gossip’s potential repercussions. Preschool-Grade 2. --Shelle Rosenfeld

About the Author

Megan McDonald is the author of the Judy Moody books, which were New York Times bestsellers. Her picture books, including Beetle McGrady Eats Bugs!, the Reading Rainbow Book Is This a House for Hermit Crab?, and Insects Are My Life, are enormously popular. She lives in Sebastopol, California.



Joung Un Kim is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. She has illustrated children's books ranging from young picture books to beginning readers, including Wings Across the Moon, Sumi's First Day of School Ever, and Duck Song. She lives in Anaheim, California.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books (April 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061138762
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061138768
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #200,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
My perspective as an elementary school counselor:

The first time I read Hen Hears Gossip I wasn't really sure if I could use it. Actually, I wasn't really sure HOW to use it. It sort of reminded me of the telephone game. Where we all sit around in a circle, someone whispers a few short sentences in the ear of the next person and so on around the circle. When it got to the last person, they would announce what they heard. It usually never comes close to the original message, and is so distorted that we all have a really good laugh. So yes, this would be a great way to use the book. But then I read it again and totally figured out another angle based on a line from the story, "Gossip! Hen loved gossip!" A lot of people love gossip. Why? Why are we attracted to gossip? Why does Hen love it so much? She's a bit obsessed with gossiping. Maybe Hen has low self-esteem, maybe she thinks it's entertaining, or maybe she thinks this is part of friendship. Kids need to know gossip is toxic. Gossip has no purpose. And if we're running around talking in a hurtful manner about everyone - we need to take stock. I asked the students to give me a list of reasons of why gossiping would be a positive thing. They couldn't come up with anything. However, we ran out of room on the white board listing all of the negative things about gossip. If you use this book, I encourage you to explore Hen's "need" to gossip. And yes, the telephone game is always fun too but I try and take a serious tone on this subject with kids.
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Format: Hardcover
The hen was in the barnyard when she overheard Pig saying something to Cow. People, let alone animals, shouldn't listen to gossip nor spread it, but like many "Hen loved gossip!" She listened very closely so to them so she could rush off to relay whatever tidbits they had to offer to her friends. "Psst. Psst. Psst." Gossiping was really not a nice thing to do, but off she went to tell Duck that Sadie dog had a thorn stuck in him. Oh, my! Now Duck, also a good one for gossip went off to tell Goose that "Daisy the cat grew a horn!"

Goose ran off to tell Turkey her version of the tidbit. Turkey ran off to tell Hen that she heard she was "lazy, fat, and ate all the corn!" Oh, my! That was not at all true, but by the time Hen's message went full circle, it was altogether different from when she started. Trying to figure out just what happened Turkey and Hen started back through the trail of the gossip to find out just what went wrong. It turns out that Hen, the gal who loved gossip, overheard wrong and they all were in for a big surprise, to say nothing of learning that they should not spread gossip!

This simple tale relays an important lesson for children and adults alike. It tells them that gossip is not acceptable and can hurt and upset people (or in this case animals) when it is misinterpreted or twisted. The gentle illustrations are quaint and charming. This would be the perfect tale for read and discussion in a homeschool or classroom setting. Psst, psst, psst . . . let's try NOT to gossip!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Good story.
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