Little Red Hen: 6 Books about a Folktale to Compare and Contrast

Little Red Hen: 6 Books about a Folktale to Compare and Contrast Cathy Collier

Little Red Hen has always been one of my go-to books when talking about plants and spring. It also lends itself beautifully to sequencing.

BUT, I also love looking at other Little Red Hen themed books as a compare and contrast lesson in comprehension. Originating from the classic folktale, this diligent and resourceful hen has captured the imaginations of generations, teaching invaluable lessons about hard work, perseverance, and reaping the rewards of one’s efforts.

However, what truly sets the Little Red Hen apart is her adaptability—she seamlessly integrates into various narratives, each with its unique spin and message. She is also, without a doubt, a girl boss!

Little Red Hen: 6 Books about a Folktale to Compare and Contrast Cathy Collier

In this blog post, we will look at the vibrant library of Little Red Hen themed books, exploring how different authors and illustrators have reimagined this beloved character is so fun.

From the timeless simplicity of the hen in Byron Barton’s rendition to the culinary adventures in Philomen Sturges’ “Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza,” and the inventive twist in Brenda Maier’s Ruby in “Little Red Fort,” each book brings forth a distinct perspective on the age-old tale.

Join us as we compare and contrast these enchanting Little Red Hen themed books, uncovering the myriad ways in which authors and illustrators

have breathed new life into an age-old tale while staying true to its timeless wisdom and charm of “you reap what you sow.”

Through this exploration, we discover that no matter the setting or the characters involved, the spirit of the Little Red Hen endures, continuing to inspire and delight readers of all ages.

Fresh bread little red hen

Little Red Hen” by Byron Barton is a delightful adaptation of the classic folktale featuring the hardworking hen and her lazy animal friends.

In this retelling, Little Red Hen discovers some wheat grains and decides to plant them, tend to the wheat, harvest it, and ultimately bake bread.

Throughout her journey, she repeatedly asks for assistance from her fellow farm animals—a pig, a duck, and a cat—but they all refuse, preferring to laze about.

Little Red Hen: 6 Books about a Folktale to Compare and Contrast Cathy Collier

Undeterred by their lack of help, Little Red Hen perseveres, completing each task on her own. In the end, she enjoys the fruits of her labor as she relishes the warm, freshly baked bread all by herself.

Byron Barton’s rendition is renowned for its simple yet engaging text and vibrant illustrations, making it a beloved choice for young readers learning about the values of hard work and self-reliance.

Yummy Pizza Little Red Hen

Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza” by Philemon Sturges offers a modern twist on the classic tale of the Little Red Hen. In this adaptation, Little Red Hen has a craving for pizza and decides to make one from scratch.

She starts by asking her animal friends—a dog, a cat, and a duck—to help her with various tasks such as gathering ingredients, kneading dough, and chopping vegetables.

However, much like the traditional story, her friends decline to assist, citing various excuses. Undeterred, Little Red Hen proceeds to make the pizza all by herself, demonstrating her resourcefulness and determination.

As the delicious aroma of the freshly baked pizza fills the air, her friends suddenly become interested and eagerly offer to help her eat it. Little Red Hen graciously accepts their offer, but reminds them that they had declined to help with its creation. Philemon Sturges’ adaptation maintains the core themes of the original tale—hard work, perseverance, and self-reliance—while introducing young readers to the joys of cooking and sharing food.

The story is accompanied by lively illustrations by Amy Walrod, adding to the book’s charm and appeal.

spring fiesta little red hen

Little Red Hen: 6 Books about a Folktale to Compare and Contrast Cathy Collier

Mañana, Iguana” by Ann Whitford Paul is a delightful bilingual picture book that transports readers to the vibrant setting of a Mexican jungle.

The story follows the adventures of Iguana, who wants to celebrate the beginning of spring with a fiesta. Excited about the upcoming fiesta, Iguana sets out to prepare for the celebration.

Her friends Conejo {ko ne’ ho] the Hare, Tortuga the Turtle, and Culebra [ku lebra] the snake are excited about the party, but don’t want to help.

Whenever Iguana asks for their assistance in gathering ingredients, they all decline, offering excuses and promising to help mañana, or tomorrow.

Undeterred by their reluctance, Iguana continues her quest, writing invitations, delivering invitations, stuffing the pinata, cooking the food and hanging the streamers. Iguana does not invite her friends and they watch from the distance.

However, in a true show of friendship, they clean up the fiesta for an exhausted Iguana. Then they all share leftovers!

Ann Whitford Paul’s charming story is beautifully complemented by Ethan Long’s vibrant illustrations, capturing the warmth and richness of Mexican culture.

Through its engaging narrative and playful language, “Mañana, Iguana” celebrates the spirit of cooperation and camaraderie, reminding readers of the joy that comes from working together towards a common goal.

southwest chili little red hen

Armadilly Chili” by Helen Ketteman is a delightful southwestern-themed picture book that follows the culinary adventure of a determined armadillo named Davy. When Davy discovers that the annual chili cook-off is coming up, he eagerly decides to enter the competition. However, Davy encounters a problem—while he’s an expert at digging up tasty treats like worms and grubs, he doesn’t know how to make chili.

Undeterred by his lack of culinary skills, Davy seeks the help of his desert-dwelling friends—a horned toad, a rattlesnake, and a javelina—who agree to assist him in making the perfect chili. Together, they gather all the necessary ingredients, including tomatoes, peppers, onions, and beans. However, when it comes time to add the secret ingredient, Davy realizes he’s missing one crucial component—chili powder.

With the cook-off deadline looming, Davy embarks on a frantic search for chili powder, encountering various obstacles and setbacks along the way. Yet, with determination and the support of his friends, Davy manages to find the missing ingredient just in time to enter his armadillo-themed chili in the competition.

Helen Ketteman’s engaging text is brought to life by Will Terry’s lively and colorful illustrations, which capture the warmth and humor of Davy’s southwestern world. “Armadilly Chili” is a heartwarming tale that celebrates friendship, resourcefulness, and the joy of culinary creativity, making it a delightful read for children and adults alike.

backyard little red hen

The Little Red Fort” by Brenda Maier is a delightful and empowering picture book that puts a creative twist on the classic tale of the Little Red Hen.

In this modern adaptation, Ruby, a resourceful and determined young girl, stumbles upon a book about building forts. Inspired by the idea, this future engineer decides to build her own fort in the backyard.

Eager to enlist the help of her brothers, she asks them to join in the project, but they brush her off, claiming they’re too busy.

Little Red Hen: 6 Books about a Folktale to Compare and Contrast Cathy Collier

Undeterred, Ruby decides to tackle the project herself, learning along the way how to measure, cut, and hammer.

As she perseveres through the challenges, her brothers eventually take notice and express interest in helping. However, Ruby reminds them that they had the chance to participate from the beginning but chose not to.

With determination and creativity, Ruby completes the fort, transforming it into a space where she and her brothers can play and create memories together.

Brenda Maier’s engaging narrative is complemented by Sonia Sánchez’s vibrant and expressive illustrations, capturing the spirit of imagination and ingenuity. “The Little Red Fort” celebrates the power of perseverance, creativity, and independent thinking, inspiring readers to follow their dreams and pursue their passions, no matter the obstacles they may face.

desktop little red hen (pen)

Little Red Pen” by Janet Stevens is a whimsical and inventive twist on the classic tale of the Little Red Hen.

In this adaptation, the story unfolds on a desktop where Little Red Pen, a hardworking and diligent office tool, is trying to grade papers. “If the papers aren’t graded, the students won’t learn.”

When Little Red Pen falls into the wastebasket and goes missing, her fellow office supplies—a stapler, a pencil, a highlighter, a pushpin, and an eraser—band together to search for her.

Little Red Hen: 6 Books about a Folktale to Compare and Contrast Cathy Collier

Each tool must overcome obstacles and face their own fears as they navigate through the chaotic office environment. As the group perseveres in their search for Little Red Pen, they come to realize the value of teamwork and the importance of helping one another.

Janet Stevens’ delightful story is brought to life by her lively illustrations and clever use of office supply puns, making “Little Red Pen” a charming and engaging read for children and adults alike. Through its playful narrative and endearing characters, the book celebrates the power of friendship, cooperation, and problem-solving in overcoming challenges.

Strawberry shortcake little red hen

Finally, “Cook-a-Doodle-Doo” by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel is a delightful and humorous picture book that tells the story of Big Brown Rooster, who is eager to cook up something special for his friends. However, where the other books share a common problem and not getting help, the problem in this book is that Big Brown Rooster hasn’t cooked before.

Determined to overcome this obstacle, he seeks the help of his friends: a cat, a dog, and a turtle. Each friend brings their unique skills to the table, but their attempts to interpret the recipe lead to chaos in the kitchen.

As they try to follow the recipe’s instructions, mishaps and misunderstandings abound, resulting in culinary disasters. Although Rooster hasn’t cooked before, he understands “cooking words” like stick, cut, beat, sift, and flour (flower) have different meanings when you are cooking.

Yet, amidst the chaos, the friends learn valuable lessons about cooperation, problem-solving, and the importance of working together as a team. With perseverance and ingenuity, they eventually manage to create a delicious cake that surprises everyone, including themselves.

Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel’s engaging text is complemented by Janet Stevens’ vibrant and humorous illustrations, which capture the frenetic energy of the kitchen and the endearing personalities of the characters. “Cook-a-Doodle-Doo” is a delightful tale that celebrates friendship, resilience, and the joy of culinary creativity, making it a charming read for children and adults alike…and yummy strawberry shortcake.

activities await…

No matter what version of the classic folk tale the little red hen, teachers can be sure to share the delight with their students, year after year. Discover the timeless tale of the Little Red Hen through a collection of themed books that offer delightful twists and creative adaptations.

From the classic retelling by Byron Barton to the culinary adventures in “Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza” by Philemon Sturges, each book brings a unique perspective to the beloved story of hard work and perseverance. These books lend themselves so well to comparing and contrasting characters, events, and settings.

If you would like a copy of a compare and contrast with Byron Barton’s Little Red Hen and Philamen Sturges’s Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza, make sure to fill out the form below. If you have any other compare and contrast needs, please make sure to check out the reading comprehension set linked below.

Cathy Collier
Compare and Contrast ~ Teaching Primary Students to Look at All Angles Cathy Collier
Little Red Hen: 6 Books about a Folktale to Compare and Contrast Cathy Collier

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