LITTLE BROWN HEN'S SHOWER

Pamela Duncan Edwards, Author, Darcia Labrosse, Illustrator , illus. by Darcia LaBrosse. Hyperion $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7868-0467-2

This thin tale told in couplets begins as Brown Hen, an expectant mother, has been mysteriously summoned to the farmhouse. She overhears a passing cat remark, "There's going to be a shower!" and opens a large umbrella to protect her precious egg en route—even though the skies are sunny and clear. Knowing that the hen is to be feted at a surprise baby shower, the other animals gently tease her: " 'Have you thought,' gobbled Turkey, 'what the farmer will say/ when the wind picks you up and sweeps you away?' " Here as elsewhere, LaBrosse (previously teamed with Edwards for The Grumpy Morning) illustrates the scenario with gusto, imagining a sky full of umbrella-toting animals airborne à la Mary Poppins. After being showered with gifts (and achieving motherhood), the hen imparts the lesson to her newly hatched chick: "Sometimes words sound the same, but they mean different things." The artist's watercolor and ink cartoons have an airy energy and mild silliness that make the message go down easily. The set-up, however, seems too protracted for the payoff. Ages 2-5. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/18/2002
Release date: 04/01/2002
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