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Henny-Penny

by Jane Wattenberg, reteller
Illustrated by Jane Wattenberg

Published by Scholastic, 2000
32 pages
ISBN: 0-439-07817-2

Ages 4 - 8

Remember Henny Penny, the silly chicken who determined that the sky was falling after being hit on the head by a flying object? Children - even the youngest - always recognize that she was beaned by only an acorn or two, not an object from outer space. Henny Penny enlists others: Cocky-Locky, Ducky-Lucky, etc. Sound familiar? Yes, but this version of the tale doesn't look at all familiar. Wattenberg juxtaposes expertly created photo compositions with visual puns galore. Imagine the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Stonehenge, and crazy traffic signs all in the same book. And that's just for starters. An artist who has never had a children's book published before this also adds her personal brand of verbal humor to the telling. As always, the villainous fox has the best lines, and here they are especially lively. Foxy-Loxy addresses the odd assortment of frightened poultry with such questions as, "Going bonkers, honkers?" and he declares, "Throw in the towel, fowl." Any child resilient enough to enjoy having several characters disappear - forever- into Foxy-Loxy's den will relish this dynamic, comic edition of a time-tested favorite. Rest assured, Henny Penny survives, but not without a clear indication of Wattenberg's spin on the group hysteria Ms. Penny's actions provoked. CCBC categories: Folklore, Mythology, and Traditional Literature; New Editions of Old Favorites.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center


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