cover image The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza)

The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza)

Philemon Sturges. Dutton Children's Books, $16.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-525-45953-8

Sturges's (Bridges Are to Cross) retelling of ""The Little Red Hen"" exudes charm, thanks to conversational narration and Walrod's (Horace and Morris But Mostly Dolores) delightful cut-paper images. One day, the feathered heroine, assembled from russet, fibrous paper stock and wearing a teal scarf, has a hankering for pizza and attempts to recruit the help of her neighbors--a yellow duck in a flowered swim cap, a cardboard-brown dog sporting a biscuits box and party hat and a hip blue cat with a beret and sax. But Sturges's modern fowl, rather than drafting helpers to harvest wheat, asks, ""Who'll run to the store and get me some flour?"" They reply with the classic, "" `Not I,' said the duck. `Not I,' said the cat. `Not I,' said the dog. `Very well, then, I'll fetch some myself,' said the Little Red Hen."" After repeating this ritual several times, the hen prepares her masterpiece solo. Time-lapse sequences show her kneading dough, grating cheese and slicing pepperoni. She holds no grudges against the duck, cat and dog, who share the meal, and all ends happily when the three volunteer to wash the dishes. Sturges makes the most of the repetitive formula and the hen's impulsiveness; each time the hen struts to the market for one thing, she can't resist buying ""...some other stuff."" Walrod's collages make cutting and pasting look like a breeze. She invents tidy packages for each miniature store-bought item and uses an abundance of textured paper stock for her fluent images. Her pizza pie really does look good enough to eat. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)