I love exploring different versions of familiar fairy tales and folk tales. This book list is kicking off a series of book lists that share versions of favorite stories.
Armadilly Chili, by Helen Ketteman
This is a fun and clever Southwest version of the Little Red Hen. Miss Billie Armadilly wants her friends to help her make a pot of hot armadilly chili. But the tarantula, bluebird, and horned toad are too busy to help. An angry Miss Billie refuses to share the chili … until a sweet surprise ending. Recommended!
The Little Red Hen, by Paul Galdone
I love this vintage book! The familiar story of the little red hen can be boring and repetitious to read, but Galdone’s combination of simple storytelling and delightful pictures make it a treat. Don’t miss this one!
The Little Green Witch, by Barbara Barbieri McGrath
Even though the little witch lives in a tree with a ghost, a bat, and a gremlin, she does all the “unhousework.” She spreads the soot, hangs the cobwebs, and dirties the laundry. So it’s no wonder that when she discovers some pumpkins seeds, it’s up to her to plant them. When the little green witch makes pumpkin pie, her friends all want a taste. But the little green witch isn’t about to give it to them … and the ending has a surprise twist. While I loved the pictures, this book wasn’t my favorite. However, my Four requested it often.
Burro’s Tortillas, by Terri Fields
In this version, a burro is making corn tortillas. He asks his friends for help, but the bobcat, coyote, and jackrabbit are full of excuses. The book mixes English with Spanish and has a fun Southwest flair with a fair number of corny jokes.
Digger Pig and the Turnip, by Caron Lee Cohen
Digger Pig seeks help from the other farm animals to make a turnip pie. But Chirper Chick, Quacker Duck, and Bow-Wow Dog refuse. So Digger Pig shares the turnip pie with her piglets and no one else. This is a short book that I recommend for early readers, but probably not as a read aloud.
The Little Red Pen, by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel
It’s a bit of a stretch to call this a remake of the Little Red Hen, but it’s seriously one of the funniest children’s books I’ve ever read. So I definitely had to include it! It’s about a red pen who asks for the other supplies’ help to grade all the papers. But no one else wants to help – the stapler has a sore back, the scissors is getting dull, the eraser’s head is shrinking … you get the idea. All the supplies are worried that they’ll be used up and thrown away … into the pit of no return (the trash can). When the little red pen accidentally falls in, the other supplies work together to rescue her.
The text is hilarious, and the illustrations and speech bubbles are incredible. Run to the library to get this book!
Help Yourself, Little Red Hen! by Arnold Granowsky
This clever story would be great for teaching point of view. Told by the pig, this book explains the little red hen never does anything for herself. In fact, Mr. Duck, Miss Cat, and Mr. Pig do all the housework. When the little red hen discovers a grain of wheat, the others decide that it’s time for her to learn to do things herself. While they offer plenty of encouragement, they expect the little red hen to take responsibility.
This book was surprisingly entertaining and well written. Recommended!
The Red Hen, by Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley
I hesitated before including this book because I don’t really care for it – mainly because I find the illustrations too harsh and distracting. However, if the style appeals to you, it’s a good book. I so like the simple text and spacing, making this a good choice for children to read on their own.
The Little Red Hen, by Byron Barton
Barton is well known for writing and illustrating simple books to read aloud to toddlers. This would be a good read aloud for preschoolers, but I’m not sure I’d read it aloud to older students. Instead, let them read it themselves. It’s at a mid to late first grade reading level.
Gator Gumbo, by Candace Fleming
This book was hard for me. That’s because the language and setting necessitate that the book be read with a cajun accent – which I don’t know how to do! So the text felt clumsy to me. However, if you can pull it off, I do recommend this unique adaptation.
Poor Monsieur Gator is so old that he can’t catch anything except leaves, moss, and roots. The other animals tease him mercilessly … but after he whips up a pot of gumbo (all by himself), they get what they deserve.
The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza, by Philemon Sturges
Truthfully, I find this book tedious and repetitive, but that’s probably because we own it and I’ve read it about 500 times (give or take). Obviously my kids enjoy this creative variation on the traditional tale. I like the ending; the Little Red Hen kindly shares the pizza, and her friends help clean up.
Manana Iguana, by Ann Whitford Paul
Iguana is planning a fiesta, but none of her friends will help. We adore this adaptation with a Mexican twist. You’ll appreciate the simple Spanish vocabulary mixed into the text, as well as the appealing illustrations by Ethan Long. Don’t miss it!
The Little Red Hen, by Margot Zemach
While the storytelling isn’t anything special, the unique illustrations and simple text make this book a good fit for young readers.
The Little Red Hen, by Harriet Ziefert
Again, this book isn’t anything spectacular for a read aloud, but it’s perfect for young readers. Advanced kindergarten readers will be able to read it all on their own. Definitely one for your classroom library.
The Little Red Hen, by Jerry Pinkney
Any collection of “Little Red Hen” books would be incomplete without this one. Like his other folktales, this one is worth owning. Pinkney’s stunning illustrations take the show, but his simple, creative storytelling also sets his books apart.
Did you know?
I have a collection of reader’s theater scripts featuring favorite stories – perfect for kids in grades 1-3. When you purchase the bundle, you’ll get ten scripts – including “The Little Red Hen Makes Macaroni and Cheese.”
CHECK OUT OUR READER’S THEATER PLAYS!
Reader’s Theater Scripts – Familiar Tales for Grades 1-3
Reader’s theater is the easiest (and most fun!) way to build fluency. This popular bundle has ten plays based on familiar tales. You’ll love the differentiation in these engaging scripts!
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