What do crêpes, soufflés, frittatas, and quiches have in common? Why, yes, they’re all made with eggs!
Unless they’re from a family that raises chickens, many kids see eggs in the fridge or grocery store without ever considering where they came from.
In Monica Wellington’s brand new interactive picture book, Eggs From Red Hen Farm: Farm to Table with Mazes and Maps (Holiday House, 2022), young readers are invited to tag along as two happy young farmers take their eggs to market.
The story opens with Ruby and Ned collecting eggs from their hen house. After they sort and count the eggs, they load them onto their red truck. Off they go, “past the ponies, the fire station, and the bulldozer, to the farmers’ market.”
After they set up their stand, Ruby leaves to make deliveries, while Ned stays behind to sell their eggs to the customers who stop by.
Ruby drives “across the train tracks, onto the highway, and over the bridge, to the bakery in the city.” The baker is happy to see Ruby, whom she invites back later for a surprise.
Ruby then makes several more stops: first to the school, where she teaches a cooking class, then to the grocery store, where she delivers dozens of eggs (customers snatch them right up), and finally to the café, where the chef is planning a menu of eggstraordinary delights.
On her way back, Ruby once again stops at the bakery for her surprise, and then she picks up Ned at the farmers’ market. Happy with the day’s sales, they check on their chickens once they’re finally home.
Time to open the baker’s gift. Wow! A batch of beautifully decorated Red Hen Farm themed cookies — made with their eggs, of course. 🙂
If you’re familiar with Monica’s books, you know she’s brilliant at creating charming picture books that make learning a lot of fun.
Kids will have a ball tracking Ruby and Ned’s activities throughout the day via a series of six carefully constructed, brightly colored maps. Each line of text is paired with small images that serve as word and map reading visual clues. The six maps are chock full of fetching details, arranged in and around a maze of meandering country lanes, town roads and city streets.
Each page turn is a delight, because in addition to maps, there are full bleed spreads, egg-shaped illustrations, and spreads where the text is framed by objects relevant to each of the stops, all rendered in cheery gouache.
My favorite might be the bakery, with its rows of donuts, cookies, cupcakes, cookies and croissants, as well as recipe ingredients and baking utensils – items to point to, identify and count with labels to read.
Every spread in this book will keep busy, eager eyes occupied for hours (farm animals! store signs! fruits and veggies! little cars and trucks! how many? what color? what is the shortest distance between here and there?).
I love the nod to small farms and the network of businesses they supply. There’s a warm feeling of community, too, as Ruby interacts with the baker and café owner on a personal basis. We also see how ability rather than gender determines Ned’s and Ruby’s responsibilities. Ned is good at counting eggs and money, while Ruby’s the better driver. Goodbye stereotypes. The story is also populated by a diverse set of characters.
A final thing that I (and I’m sure kids) will love: the red hens offer amusing commentary, thanks to Monica’s clever use of speech bubbles. They say things like, “toodle loo,” “yummy Yum,” and “I’m peckish.” Who wouldn’t love a polka dotted red hen saying “Whoopee!” as she’s perched atop Ruby’s head? Too adorable!
With wide application across disciplines, Eggs From Red Hen Farm will have kids clucking for more – more chickens, more eggs, more fun. Eggsceptional in every way. Care for a scramble? 🙂
EGGS FROM RED HEN FARM: Farm to Table with Mazes and Maps
written and illustrated by Monica Wellington
published by Holiday House, March 2022
Picture Book for ages 3-7, 40 pp.
*Interior spreads posted by permission, text and illustrations copyright © 2022 Monica Wellington, courtesy of Holiday House Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.
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