Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Book of the Day: Out of the Egg by Tina Matthews

Third in the HMH Book of the Day series is…

Out of the Egg
by Tina Matthews
9780618737413, $12.95

A retelling of the Little Red Hen, Tina Matthews updates not only the illustrations, but the ending as well. The illustrations depict a mix of country and city elements complete with farm, apartment buildings, cars, computers, and telephone wires, yet the simple woodcuts in black, red, and green maintain the classic feel this tale requires.

For those who don’t remember the story, the Little Red Hen finds a seed, plants it, and cares for it. She asks Fat Cat, Dirty Rat, and Greedy Pig for help throughout the seasons, but “Not I,” they say each time. “Then I shall [insert task here] myself,” answers the Little Red Hen. Over the years, the seed grows into a large tree, providing a safe space for the Red Hen to lay her egg. Soon a little chick appears, as does a little cat, a little rat, and a little pig. When the Red Hen would deny the little cat, little rat, and little pig the chance to play beneath her shady tree, she learns a lesson in kindness from her cheeky little chick.

I don’t know if the title is a play on the phrase “out of the mouths of babes,” but that’s what I always think of when I relate the title to this book, for out of the egg came a little chick and out of her mouth comes true friendship.

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