One of the most wonderful things you can do for a child is to teach them a love of books and writing. For some, one comes easier than the other. Sometimes it is a matter of age – you can tell a story before you can actually read or write the words. Sometimes it is mind over matter or simply trusting your voice. I definitely see both sides of the spectrum with my two girls. J is 10 and while she loves to read, she isn’t as comfortable creating stories. E is 6, and she could tell stories and create worlds of her own all day if you let her. So when I come across books that encourage the writing process and story writing confidence I definitely feel the need to share them.
One of J’s latest ideas for a career is to be an author. She definitely loves books enough. I’ve enjoyed watching some of her creations come to life and see her develop her stories and her illustrations. Last year for her birthday, she received a set from Illustory. I held off letting her use it because, at the time, she really wasn’t creating any stories, was unwilling to draw pictures, and it seemed like a waste of a great gift. Now that she has matured a bit and enjoys the full process, we broke out the set. She was going to sit right down and write, but I encouraged her to use their brainstorming sheet to plot her story ahead of time, and she was all over it! So when I was at the library shortly after and found the book “The Little ‘Read’ Hen,” it was as if all of the stars were aligning.
The little red hen is a classic tale about the virtues of a strong work ethic, the value of working together and how to make bread. The story has been re-imagined many times over. There are versions that stay true to the original and those where the hen makes something other than bread (ie pizza, soup etc.). We even have The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah! Then there are a ton of books where they take the work ethic and collaboration themes and use them for something else completely. I had recently heard of “The Little Red Pen” from one of the other book bloggers I follow, but when I glanced at it in the library, it seemed more aimed at adults than kids – it is about a red pen with a huge pile of homework to grade asking for the other school supplies to help her. Then I happened across “The Little Read Hen.” The Little Read Hen is a cute story that aims to show kids the flow of writing a story or a research paper but is still tongue in cheek enough for parents to get a good laugh.
The story is about a little hen who loves to read and loves to write. She gets a great idea to write a story and when she sees her friends, she wants to do it together so she asks the dog, cat and pig to help her with the first step, brainstorming.
In typical little red hen fashion, they refuse. So she goes and does it herself. She proceeds to go through all of the necessary steps to write a great story with no help from her friends. As with the great “Starbawks” pun and her ordering a mocha-cocoa flappaccino, there are other cute notes like “egg pad,” “cooped up” etc.
As with other little red hen stories, the other animals want in on the finished product even though they didn’t help make it at all. Initially the hen doesn’t want to share her book with them, but then she realizes that everything is better if you can share it with friends.
This is a great take on an old tale. We are at the perfect stage to be learning about the process of writing a story or researching a topic. J of course decided to argue with me on how to pronounce “read,” but other than that, this is one that we have been reading over and over.