Jenny Nimmo, , illus. by Debbie Boon. . Harcourt, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-216486-7

Little Hen is "too small and ordinary," according to the farm's other female fowls. Why, she doesn't even have a "special name" like Rhode Island Red or White Leghorn. Arthur the rooster is clearly fond of Little Hen, and Mrs. Field the farmer tries to console her by saying, "Small creatures can do wonderful things. Look at spiders." But Little Hen doesn't really understand what she's capable of until she adopts eggs that the other hens have inadvertently abandoned. She protects them until they hatch, come wind, rain or shine. Welsh author Nimmo's workmanlike prose moves this familiar story along without igniting it. But there is definitely something wonderful about British artist Boon's mixed-media pictures, which take shape in a visual smorgasbord of full-bleed paintings and vignettes from a wide array of perspectives. Her hens possess a beguiling, overripe plumpness that would make Frank Perdue green with envy, and their feathered coats seem to bristle with electricity. Ages 3-7. (Aug.)