The Fox and the Hen
written and illustrated by Eric Battut
(Boxer Books) 2010 First American edition; published in France 2008
Source: Orange County Public Library
Henrietta Hen is not the brightest fowl in the coop. She has just laid her first egg when Fox comes along and offers a nice juicy worm for the egg. Being a fan of worms and not knowing what she just laid, Henrietta immediately agrees to the trade. When her friends on the farm hear about this trade, they are mortified. Poor Henrietta is saddened by her mistake, but Cow and the rest of the barnyard crew vow to help her get her egg back. Each animal offers Fox an item for trade so Henrietta can get her egg (e.g., Goose offers feathers, Goat offers cheese), but the sly fox has his mind set on eating an egg. After several attempts, the animals are in a state of despair until Henrietta's IQ soars and she has a brilliant idea.
The Fox and the Hen is a crowd pleaser for read aloud time because it has a sweet protagonist and a villain. My students really wanted to see Henrietta get her egg back and rooted openly against Fox. Eric Battut's portrayal of the fox in text and illustrations really make this book for me. Each time Fox is presented with an offer for the egg, he refuses and delights to tell a different way that he is going to cook the egg that is tied to the offer. For example, when the Goat offers cheese, he declines but mentions that he is looking forward to cooking an omelet. This book would be a terrific text for teaching sequence or text to text connections as you could compare it to other books featuring a fox like Lousy Rotten Stinkin' Grapes.