cover image The Little Red Hen

The Little Red Hen

Byron Barton. HarperCollins, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-021675-7

As he did in The Three Bears , Barton here skillfully pares down a well-known tale for the youngest readers and listeners. Vibrant hues abound in his full-page, collage-like illustrations, which show the industrious little red hen and her three cooperative chicks planting seeds; harvesting, threshing and grinding wheat; and baking bread--while a carefree pig, duck and cat cavort merrily, repeatedly refusing to lend a hand. Of course, their one and only offer to help is turned down, and as the three hapless animals peer through the hen's kitchen window, she serves the warm loaf to her open-mouthed offspring. Creatively balancing simple sentences and vivid images, Barton wraps up this wise mother's timeless message into a neat package. Ages 3-6. (May)