Bibliographic Information (best version for telling): 

The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza)  

Retold by:  Philemon Sturges  Illustrated by:  Amy Walrod  Publisher:  Dutton Children’s Books, New York 1999.


Ethnic Origin:  England


Running Time:  4-5 minutes


Power Center(s):

Disheartened feeling of Little Red Hen when no one helps her.

Abandoned feeling of Little Red Hen when no one offers to run errands with her or for her.

Self-reliant feeling of the Little Red Hen because she always responds, “Very well, then, I’ll fetch it myself.

Animal’s enthusiasm when they are offered pizza


Characters:  Little Red Hen, Duck, Dog, Cat




Synopsis:  The Little Red Hen decides to make a pizza.  She asks the Duck, the Dog and the Cat to help with several favors, finding a pizza pan, buying flour, getting cheese, making the dough and making the toppings.   Although, each time the Little Red Hen asks for help the three animals respond, “Not I” and continue playing, while the hen is working.  When the pizza is finished, the Little Red Hen offers each of them a piece of pizza, and this time they stop playing to respond “yes” to the pizza offer.  In the end, the Duck, Dog and Cat even help clean the dishes, too.


Rhymes/Special Phrases/Flavor:

So she stuck her head out the window, “Hello,” she said, “Who will run to the store and get me some flour?”

So she stuck her head out the window, “Excuse me,” she said, “who will go to the store and buy me some mozzarella?”

So she stuck her head out the window, “Good afternoon,” she said, “Who will help me make the pizza dough?”

So she stuck her head out the window, “Excuse me,” she said, “who will help me make the toppings?”


Audience (why is this story appropriate for the audience? developmental characteristics?)

This story is appropriate for 3-6 year olds, a pre-school audience. 

Piaget:  Pre-School children are usually in a pre-operational stage of Piaget’s stages of development.  At this stage, language development is critical.  Thus, stories with repetitive and patterned language (“Not I,” said the duck. “Not I,” said the dog. “Not I,” said the cat) are important.  Also, children begin to focus on one aspect of a situation at a time.  The sequential steps of how the Little Red Hen makes her pizza is appropriate for pre-school children because she focuses on one phase at a time. 


Kohlberg (moral development): When children hear this story, Kohlberg’s Stage 2 is occurring when the three animals do not help and keep playing or relaxing.  Stage two has “An eye for an eye,” belief.  The animals are satisfying their own needs first.  This mirrors children at this age, very egocentric and wanting to satisfy their own needs.


Erik Erikson:  Stage of Initiative vs. Guilt:  This stage is when children are developing a sense of social responsibility.  This story shows the Little Red Hen needing help, and three animals choosing to keep playing instead of helping.  By developing a sense of social responsibility, children at this age may choose to help, especially if they will get rewarded in the end, with a piece of bread or pizza. 


Bibliographic information on other versions/variants (at least two)



Others without complete bibliographic information:




Brief comparisons of all versions/variants in terms of language, rhythm, tellability, flavor, content, etc.  Stress the differences in style rather than those of content.


In the Sturges’ version, the Little Red Hen is making a pizza. It is a more pleasant and comical version than Galdone’s, Barton’s or Zemach’s versions when the hen is making a cake or bread.  The endings are different in the sense that Sturges has the hen offer the pizza to the animals and gives it to them.   They eat it, and voluntarily help with the dishes.  In all the other versions, the hen may ask who will eat the bread/cake, but ultimately does not share the bread/cake with any of the animals.  The hens in all the other versions, besides the Sturges’ version, teach a more obvious lesson in the end because those hens review for the animals all that they have not done to help. One says, “And I am going to eat it all by myself” or “Oh, no you won’t (eat it.)”

 The language also differed.  Galdone and Zemach used more aged language like thresh, mended, planting wheat, going to the mill, gathering sticks for the stove, events that may be less familiar to the twenty-first century child.  Whereas, Sturges uses terms and events in his story that may be more recognizable to children. For example, making a pizza, shopping at a store (as compared to going to the mill) and eating pizza!  On the other hand, Sturges also mentions the kneading of the dough, a delicatessen and the grating cheese, which may be less familiar to children who have not been exposed to those experiences yet.

For, tellability I would have chosen the Sturges’ or Zemach’s version.  The Barton version was almost too simple for me.  It is much shorter and lacks fun or interesting details. Barton’s illustrations are cartoon/drawing-like and have very vibrant colors.  The one item that I liked about Barton’s version was that is had the animal sounds with each animal friend.  For instance, the pig “squealed,” the duck “quacked” and the cat “meowed.”  Although Barton’s was the simplest version I read, a veteran storyteller would probably know how to spice it up, especially with the animal sounds.

            The Zemach version had a good opportunity for a power center at the end, when the hen replies to the animals about eating the bread, “Oh, no you won’t! I found the wheat, I planted it…”  Even the back book cover makes a statement.  It reads, “a resourceful biddy shows her lazy neighbors the value of honest work…”  Now, just reading the back cover review could already portray a type of “flavor.”    

            Finally, all the versions had a good rhythm because the story has a repetitive nature.  Although, I thought Sturges’ version was new and innovative…and pizza usually can catch any child’s attention!