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The Little Red Hen



Last updated Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Author: Jerry Pinkney
Date of Publication: 2006
ISBN: 0803729359
Grade Level: Kindergarten    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Sep. 2010

Synopsis: 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 Cooper Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Do you know what a Hen is? (female chicken)
•  Have you ever been to a farm?
•  What kind of animals usually live on a farm?



Vocabulary Selection

•  THRESH -- to beat or rub stalks of ripe corn or a similar crop either with a hand implement or a machine to separate the grain from the husks and straw.
•  TRUDGED -- to walk, esp. laboriously or wearily; a laborious or tiring walk
•  SPROUTED -- to begin to grow; shoot forth, as a plant from a seed; to develop or grow quickly

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Do you do chores at home?
•  What things (chores) do you and the Hen have in common?
•  Do you do your chores alone or with someone?
•  Have you ever asked someone for help and they said no?
•  How did you feel?
•  What did you do?
•  Why did the Little Red Hen not share the bread and jam with the rat, the goat, the pig and the dog?

Craft ideas:
•  Step 1: Crest and wattle - Distribute one red sheet of construction paper folded in half. Instruct children to trace one hand, and cut-out to obtain two handprints.
•  Step 2: Beak - Distribute a small folded piece of yellow paper. Children will draw a triangle and cut out or just cut out from template provided.
•  Step 3: Eye – cut out from template provided and fill the eye ball in the color of their choice.
•  Step 4: Volunteers distribute the 6” inch circles that they had previously received from GLC to each of the children. Children can color and decorate all template pieces, then proceed with assembly described below.
Craft Assembly Procedure (after pieces are colored in, decorated and cut out)

Show the small image of the finished craft (featured in the template) to help the children see how the finished craft looks and to aid them in positioning the pieces.


•  1. Crest & Wattle: Demonstrate how to position each handprint on the head circle or plate.
•  2. Beak: Children can first position and mark the position of each triangle and apply glue, then paste the triangles. The rooster should appear to "crow." with beak open.
•  3. Paste eye.
•  4. Tape the craft to a craft stick (Popsicle stick) to make a mask/hand puppet.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!