The Little Red Hen by Jerry Pinkney Traditional Tale Review


The Little Red Hen by Jerry Pinkney -Google Images


Pinkney, Jerry. The Little Red Hen. Dial Books for Young Readers: New York, 2006. ISBN 0803729359

Plot Summary:

A tale in which the animals learn that when you don’t help, you don’t receive. When the little red hen requested help in planting some wheat seeds, everyone said no. When she requested help making the bread, they all said no. But when it came time to eat the freshly baked bread, everyone was willing to help. Sticking to her guns, the little red hen said no.

Critical Analysis: 

There are a lot of things I love about this story. The first being that this is a tale in which children learn two valuable lessons they will need for later in life. The first lesson is: if you don’t put in the work, you don’t get the reward. You don’t get anywhere worth being in life if you are lazy. To receive what you want, you need to put effort into it. The second lesson they learn is: it’s okay to say no. I love this one myself, as that’s something I struggle most often with. It is okay to tell them no, especially if they didn’t help. If your sister wants to borrow your game, but she refused to let you play hers, it’s okay to say no. We don’t have to share all the time, especially when all our hard work and effort have been put into whatever it is.

As for the text, it’s very easy to read. Beginning readers will need minimal help with the text.

The illustrations are bright and colorful. I also noticed that while the hen is dressed up in her fancy dress, all the other animals look the same. I think that small detail adds to the animal’s laziness. Hen puts effort into how she looks, while the others don’t. It’s a nice stylistic choice that adds to the text and the moral of the story. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Review Excerpts:

 From School Library Journal

“Important lessons of work ethics, initiative, and natural consequence are delivered in the latest addition to what might be considered the Pinkney classic bookshelf a lush, light-filled rendition of a folktale staple. The colorful, feather-full frontispiece features a full-page portrait of the heroine herself, wordlessly inviting children to turn the page with a cunningly crooked wing.”

From Booklist

“The familiar story of the hen unable to get help receives the full Pinkney visual treatment here: meticulously crafted watercolors depicting a cast of unique characters.”

From Kirkus Review

“In this pointed retelling of the familiar tale, Pinkney expands the cast by giving the industrious title bird a bevy of chicks, plus not three but four indolent animal neighbors, all of which are drawn naturalistically and to scale in big, comical farmyard watercolors.”


Other Folktales:

Stone Soup by Marcia Brown ISBN 0689711034

Robin Hood by Annie Ingle ISBN  0679810455

The Empty Pot by Demi ISBN  0805049002

Other books by Jerry Pinkney:

The Tortoise & the Hare ISBN 0316183563

The Lion and the Mouse ISBN  0316013560

Little Red Riding Hood ISBN  0316013552

Enrichment Activities:

I do love Pinterest. It’s a wonderful idea for creative minds to share activities.

One I found there is a cute little craft, making the mother hen out of crafting sticks and cut out hand prints.



Published by

Adrinna Davis

Hello there! Not much to me, I'm just your average author and librarian who is obsessed with Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Merlin, Divergent, ect... who is married with two kids. :) And now blogger. I love children's lit and want to share with you all the amazing books I find!

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