The story of Henny Penny reminds me of all the women in my family. Four generations of X-chromosomes ranging from the ages of 80 to barely 1, and when they get together, there is a whole lot of clucking and quaking. The ladies like to talk and news travels fast, but don’t go believing everything you hear, especially if they tell you the sky is falling.…” Keep reading…
Henny Penny, illustrated by Paul Galdone, is based on an old folktale about a chicken who believes the sky is falling. Henny Penny is out in the fields one day when an acorn falls on her head. Believing that the sky is falling, Penny goes off to inform the King. On the way to the palace, she spreads the word among her other fowl friends and they join her; together, they go along until they met Foxy Loxy, who offers to show them a shortcut to the King’s palace. I don’t want to wreck the ending, but let’s just say I don’t remember it being so upsetting. It’s been a while since I read Henny Penny and there are many versions of this story, but the moral always remains the same: don’t believe everything you are told.
Henny Penny is a wonderful book to read out loud. You will be tickled pink as silly rhyming names like Cocky Locky, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey and Turkey Lurkey roll off your tongue. There is a rhythm to the story that helps builds momentum and buzz, as news travels that “the sky is falling.” You can just feel the urgency and excitement as Penny’s followers increase by the number.
Paul Galdone’s pen and ink illustrations are charming, and his is a perfect style for illustrating fables – homey and old-fashioned. The illustrations feel like they were screen-printed, full of off-register blocks of shapes and colours layered over each other. The illustrations are filled with earthy tones with splashes of bold oranges, reds and yellows.
Henny Penny, a children’s book review by Thao Lam
Illustrator Paul Galdone
(1907 to 1986)
There isn’t much information on Paul Galdone except for the basics; he was born in Budapest in 1907 and emigrated to United States at the age of 14. He received formal art training at the Art Student’s League and New York School for Industrial Design, and he passed away in 1986 of a heart attack. There was an interesting blurb at the back of my volume of Henny Penny about his inspiration for Ducky Lucky: Paul Galdone had been feeding baby ducklings since they were born on the stream that crosses through his land in Rockland County, New York. Every spring the ducks returned to visit Galdone, and he spent time drawing (one became the model for Ducky Lucky) and feeding them.
Publisher Sandpiper (September 17, 1984)