cover image Henny Penny

Henny Penny

Vivian French, , illus. by Sophie Windham. . Bloomsbury, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-58234-706-6

Although Windham's (The Obvious Elephant ) painterly illustrations set a classical tone, French's (A Present for Mom ) text grants the famous fowl a considerable intelligence upgrade. Henny Penny still believes that the sky is falling, still rallies Turkey Lurkey et al. to warn the king, and still leads her friends right into the clutches of the voracious Foxy Loxy. But once the group arrives in the lair, Henny Penny has an epiphany of sorts. Noticing the bones and feathers strewn about, the chicken deduces that they're on the menu. (Windham captures this light bulb moment in a deliciously wry spot illustration.) "Now, Henny Penny...," the clucky heroine says to herself, steeling herself for what's ahead, "You may be silly, but surely there's something you can do." And she's right. She offers to tidy up the place, and while doing so, sings a lullaby so soporific that Fox falls fast asleep and the group tiptoes away. Aside from this tip of the hat to self-actualization, however, the book comes down solidly on the side of old-fashioned storytelling. Ages 4-8. (July)