The Little Green Hen
The Little Green Hen is a twist on a classic story, The Little Red Hen. In Murray’s version, the hen is good at caring for an apple tree. When she asks for help, three animals tell her no: Peacock, Fox, and Cat, but three other animals tell her yes: Dog, Sparrow, and Squirrel.
When the rains come Dog, Sparrow, and Squirrel get inside the hollow tree with Hen. Peacock, Fox, and Cat climb onto a log and float by, needing help.
“Maybe the Little Green Hen will help us,” says Cat.
Hen welcomes three more animals into her old apple tree. When the rains stop, she says, “Who will help clean up this mess?”
All six animals agree to help her. Time passes and the seedlings grow into a beautiful orchard.
And everyone lives happily ever after.
The story is a twist and shows how conservation can turn one fruit tree into a whole orchard. The animals live in harmony, and in the end everyone is happy.
Except for the reader. Where is the growth by the three animals that initially refused to help? Where is the growth in Little Green Hen? Yes, it is lovely that they all get along. Why did the three originally un-helpful animals decide to help? Did they become green, too? What does it mean to be green?
And most importantly, how can the apple tree have a hollowed-out trunk and still be a living healthy tree?
A more satisfying tale would have shown growth in at least one of the characters and/or shown how Little Green Hen converted the uncaring animals into ones that cared for the environment.
The art is fun in bold colors of green, pink, purple, orange, and blue. The mostly green cover is striking, and the end papers have green wood grain patterns on them.
The story has a good premise and does twist the original tale; however, it stops short of being a satisfying read. Plus, more than one smart child will notice that live healthy trees don’t have a place for seven animals to climb inside the trunk and be sheltered from a storm.