“The Little Red Hen”

Does this title spark any recognition? 

I spotted “The Little Red Hen” by Paul Galdone, at an Antique Market that my husband were browsing through this past weekend and I couldn’t resist buying the book for one dollar. I didn’t let myself think too long about how a book that I read in my childhood is now in an antique market, along with other things that I remembered from my childhood. Holly Hobby glasses, etc. Oh yes, time just keeps passing, doesn’t it! 

Back to the book, it brought back memories of my Mom reading it to me and then how I was so proud when I could read it to myself! I remembered the story well and how I loved the ending. 

For those of you who might not be familiar with the story, let me give you a little summary of it. I may be grown now, but I continue to love children’s stories and the lessons they can teach. Lessons that are good for adults as well. 

A little red hen lives with a cat, a dog and a mouse. Its a wonder the mouse stayed alive, but I didn’t think about that as a child. The cat, dog and mouse were all very lazy. Kind of reminds me of a cat named Dewey that I know very well.  The little red hen did all the housework and made all the meals. 

One day she decided to plant some wheat and she asked who would help, “Not I”, said the cat, “Not I”, said the dog, “Not I”, said the mouse.  So the little red hen planted it herself. She asked who would water it and pull the weeds from around it, “Not I”, said the cat, “Not I”, said the dog, “Not I”, said the mouse.  And so she did it by herself. This pattern kept repeating itself as she asked for help cutting the wheat and taking it to the mill and grounding it into flour and making a cake from the flour. The cat,dog and mouse, were too busy soaking up the sun, or laying by the fireplace, they didn’t have time for work! 

Then the dog smelled the delicious smell coming from the oven and the cat perked up its ears, (yes, that would be Dewey!) and they came into the kitchen just as the little red hen was pulling the beautiful looking cake out of the oven. Oh the faces of the cat, dog and mouse were shining with delight, as they started salivating! 

The little red hen looked at them all with their eyes shining with eagerness to taste the cake. She once again asked a question, “Who will help me eat this cake?”  “I will!”, said the cat, “I will!” said the dog, “I will!” said the mouse. 

BUT … the little red hen said, ” All by myself I planted the wheat, cut the wheat, gathered the wheat.”   ” All by myself, I gathered the sticks, built the fire, made the cake..” and “All by myself I am going to eat it!”  and here is my favorite line. “and so she did, down to the very last crumb!” 

Yes, I still laugh, and say, “Good for you! You show them!” 

See the delight you can still get from children’s books and the important messages they pass along. Delighting in children’s books is why I had so much fun writing “The Odessa Chronicles” with Colin and I hope those who read it can pick up lessons from it as well, just like the lessons I learned from the books I enjoyed as a child. 

What messages do you remember from some children’s stories? 

 

 

 

 

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