My oldest daughter and I have been reading the advanced copies of middle grade books that I receive from Netgalley. I wanted to be able to include my twins, who are a little too young for middle grade books. So, my twins and I have been reading books from the Best Book Club Ever. You might remember these books from the late 1970s and early 1980s. They have been picking one book each night, and I have been enjoying rediscovering some childhood favorites.
My Little Hen was written by Alice and Martin Provensen, and it was first published in 1973.
This is the story of a little girl named Emily, who loves her hen Etta. One day, Etta lays an egg, and that egg grows into a little chick named Neddy. Emily and Etta are very protective of Neddy, but they don’t have much to be worried about because Ralph the dog is very gentle with the chickens.
The text is written in cursive calligraphy. It’s absolutely gorgeous, but my first graders can’t read this on their own. That’s fine with me because I don’t mind reading to them. The illustrations are simple, and designed to look like photographs, so reading the book is just like going through a photo album. The reader gets to see Neddy go from just an egg to a fluffy chick to a full grown… well, some things should be a surprise, shouldn’t they?
I would recommend My Little Hen. It’s short enough for toddlers, but it will also appeal to preschoolers and children in the early years of elementary school. There’s not much of a plot per se, but this is just a sweet and simple story about a girl and her chicken. This book has been out of print for years, but used copies are readily available on Amazon.