the red hen“Who will help me gather the ingredients?”

“Not I,” said the cat.

“Not I,” said the rat.

“Bribbit,” said the frog.

The father and daughter team of Rebecca Emberly (Author) and Ed Emberly (Illustrator) collaborate to create a delightful twist on the classic folktale, The Little Red Hen. Red Hen finds a cake recipe and asks her friends to help. Cat, Rat, and Frog want no part in the cake preparations. They leave all the work to Red Hen, and wait to taste the Simply Splendid Cake as it comes out of the oven.

The bright, bold collage pictures are stunning, and the comical, goofy characters make you laugh. The text is simple, repetitive, and easy for little ones of all ages to chime in on every page. A perfect read-aloud for story time.

Playful Early Learning

Before Reading:

  • Look at the cover and ask your child what she sees.
  • Find the blackbirds. Ask why they are there.

During Reading:

  • Use an animated voice; make your voice go high and low.
  • Invite your child to “read” with you on every refrain.
  • Ask your child what she sees as you point to the pictures.

After Reading:

  • Find simple shapes like the circle, square, and star.
  • Use the recipe for Hen’s Splendid Cake and make a cake to share.
  • Read aloud the classic folk tale, The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone.
  • Compare the characters of the two versions.

reading with dadAs a child, I didn’t know my parents lured me into a love for the written word by reading aloud to me every night. The words they poured into my listening vocabulary were the words that fed my talking, reading, and writing. Now we do the same for our children from birth, and the benefits for our children’s success in learning are enormous.

“Let’s take the word enormous. If a child had never heard the word enormous, he’ll never say the word. And if he’s neither heard it nor said it, imagine the difficulty when it’s time to read it and write it. Listening comprehension must come before reading comprehension. The listening vocabulary is the reservoir of words that feeds the reading vocabulary pool.” — Jim Trelease, The New Read Aloud Handbook, 7th  ed.

forever friends“Seasons come, seasons go. But a little brown bunny and a graceful blue bird discover that friendship, true friendship, lasts forever.”

Forever Friends by Carin Berger is a tender, simple story of friendship between a small bluebird and a brown bunny. Bird and bunny play together through spring, summer, and fall. When cold air arrives, bluebird flies south. The long winter months are lonely for bird and bunny. But their reunion in springtime is pure joy when bluebird soars into the green meadow to play with bunny.

The gentle beauty of the pictures is captivating. Berger creates paper-cut collages using old book pages, magazines, receipts, letters, graph paper and ticket stubs. Little ones will delight in finding the print within the pictures.

Playful Early Learning:

  • Make up a tune for “Hello! Come Play!” Sing, rather than read, bird’s tune
  • Finger trace the dotted lines of bird’s flights
  • Name the colors Berger uses for the seasons. (Green for spring, blue for summer, brown for fall, and dark purple for winter)
  • Notice how the trees change with the season
  • Find words and letters on the collage paper pieces
  • Name the games bird and bunny play (hide and seek, tag, chase, swing, catch, juggle)

“Learning to make friends takes years of practice … teach your children how to socialize effectively – how to make friends, how to keep friends. The greatest predictor of happiness is having friends.” —John Medina