The Fox and the Hen

What It Is

The retelling of classic fables is a recent trend, and this new book re-imagines the tale of a small naive animal, in this case a hen, who is out-smarted by a wily fox. Unsuspecting Henrietta Hen falls for Red Fox’s offer to trade her very first egg for a “tasty, juicy worm.” Her fellow farm animals are outraged and try to help Henrietta get her egg back by offering to trade farm-fresh treats such as cow’s milk and goat’s cheese. Red Fox resists and taunts Henrietta by revealing his plans for cooking her precious egg. The determined little hen does not give up and devises a clever plan to offer Red Fox an even bigger egg in exchange for hers. With the help of her friends, they paint a gigantic rock to look like an egg. Red Fox falls for it hook, link and sinker, and the story ends with Henrietta’s egg hatching while the fox sits in front of a giant pot of boiling water waiting for his “egg” to cook. Talk about a watched pot that never boils!

Why It’s Fun

Though the book is a 2010 release, the classic narrative style and illustrations make us think it has been around for decades. French author-illustrator Eric Battut gives us a story whose simplicity lends to its beauty and charm. His illustrations are so vivid that you get the feeling you are turning pages made of canvas rather than paper. The story’s lessons are both timeless and relevant — bullying isn’t the way to get what you want and being greedy can drive you to make unwise choices.

Who’s Going To Love It

This is a great story for the whole family, and kids above the publisher’s recommended age of three to five will enjoy it. In fact, my five- and eight-year-old girls have asked to read it many times. The story’s calming tone is a fantastic read for nap time or bedtime, and it would be great in the classroom as well. As a gift, “The Fox and the Hen” is a fantastic choice that will potentially be a home-library treasure.

Reading Time

About 3-4 minutes

Read-It-Again Points

10 out of 10

Book Information

The Fox and the Hen
By: Written and Illustrated by Eric Battut
Published by: Boxer Books (2010)
Approximate retail price: $16.95 (hardcover)
Publisher’s recommended ages: 3 - 5


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