Teachers for Teachers | It’s Monday! We Are Celebrating Little Red Hen’s 100th Birthday! #IMWAYR #BuildYourStack
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It’s Monday! We Are Celebrating Little Red Hen’s 100th Birthday! #IMWAYR #BuildYourStack

Happy 100th Birthday, Little Red Hen!  Yes – that’s right.  In 1918, Florence White William’s story of The Little Red Hen was published by the Saalfield Publishing Company.  During a few quick Google searches, we found photographs of this original story.  Look at the inscription in the second photo –  a teacher signed this book and gave it to one of her students.  Back in 1918, teachers were putting books into readers’ hands with the timeless message – “I saw this book and thought of you.”

Now, one hundred years later, teachers, families and children still read and enjoy The Little Red Hen.  To celebrate this centennial, here are three fun twists on this classic tale:

The Little Red Fort, Brenda Maier and Sonia Sanchez

This adapted version of the Little Red Hen is going right in our mentor text basket for the Lucy Calkin’s grade 3 adapted Fairy Tale unit – Once Upon a Time.  Third-grade writers can study this text and think about why Brenda Maier chose a female main character, why she decided to have her build a fort instead of bake, and why she changed the ending.  A great book for readers to think about how to choose characters, settings, and plot to combat stereotypes and teach meaningful lessons.


The Little Red Henry, Linda Urban and Madeline Valentine

Linda Urban, we just love this book!  Little Red Henry is the story of the youngest boy in the family who is tired of having all of his family members cater to him.  He wants a bit of independence and has to continue to remind his family, “I can do it myself.”  Readers in grades K-2 are going to absolutely love this innovative twist on The Little Red Hen.

Manana Iguana, Ann Whitford Paul and Ethan Long

This version of the Little Red Hen was published in 2004 but it is new to us.  In this version, Ann Whitford Paul changed the setting and the characters to bring this story to life with a South Western twist. Spanish words are incorporated throughout the text and there is a glossary on the inside front cover.  This book will show readers how a change in setting impacts the other literary elements.

Are you looking for more traditional tales?  Here is our collection of favorite “new” traditional tales

If you want to read more ideas on how to use books to engage and instruct readers, check out our latest book, It’s All About the Books.  We are donating all of our royalties to the Book Love Foundation.  The Book Love Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving classroom libraries and putting books in the hands of students.

  • Avatar
    Rose Cappelli
    Posted at 13:53h, 15 October Reply

    Little Red Henry is one of my favorites! All of these books are great mentor texts for showing kids how one theme or story can be told in many different, fresh new ways. Thanks!

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    Posted at 14:32h, 15 October Reply

    Oh I love reading through different versions of the same story with children. Thank you for sharing the link to your favorite “new” traditional tales, too. What a great resource!

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    Lisa Maucione
    Posted at 23:42h, 15 October Reply

    I have a good-sized collection of adapted fairy tales/folktales, but I don’t have any of these that you mentioned. Now that I think of it, I don’t think I have any adaptations of The Little Red Hen. I’ll have to check these out!

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    Michele Knott
    Posted at 23:47h, 15 October Reply

    Before I scrolled all the way down I was thinking about Little Red Fort – it’s a book we read to all students at the end of last year. Love all the fort pictures at the end.

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    Laura Mossa
    Posted at 09:40h, 16 October Reply

    Wow! 100 years! I just adore Thre Little Red Fort! Thank you for reminding me I need to add it to #classroombookadsay read alouds.

  • Avatar
    Myra from GatheringBooks
    Posted at 09:57h, 21 October Reply

    This looks like a veritable classic – and like you said an awesome read aloud. Thanks for sharing such detailed thoughts and suggestions about the book.

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