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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 neighborsAa 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.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Kindergarten-Grade 3-A funky rendition of the classic tale. Hen, having decided to make a pizza, discovers that she lacks certain necessities, such as a proper pan. "`Cluck,' she said. `I need a pizza pan.'" When she asks her neighbors to help her out, she gets the expected response: "Not I," said the duck donning her swim cap and tube. "Not I," said the dog wearing a box of dog biscuits and a party hat. "Not I," said the hep blue cat playing the saxophone. So off the Little Red Hen goes to the store to buy the things she needs-along with others she surely does not need, such as a guide to sink installation. When she finally gets her pizza made, the three unaccommodating friends change their tune. The plot takes two nifty twists at the end-and this Little Red Hen is not quite as punitive as in the original story. There's a keen sense of the absurd here, and the hilarious cut-paper illustrations are right in tune with the zany plot. This version can be pored over again and again as much can escape the eye the first time around. It is aimed at an older audience than Alan Garner's The Little Red Hen (DK Ink, 1997). Children who appreciate the humor of Jon Scieszka's The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (Viking, 1989) will fall under this book's spell as well. Destined to be quite the crowd pleaser.
Anne Chapman Callaghan, Racine Public Library, WI
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.


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