by Susan Stevens Crummel, Janet Stevens

Big Brown Rooster is sick of chicken feed. So along with his friends—Turtle, Iguana, and Potbellied Pig—he sets out to make the most magnificent strawberry shortcake in the whole wide world.


Big Brown Rooster is sick of chicken feed. So along with his friends—Turtle, Iguana, and Potbellied Pig—he sets out to make the most magnificent strawberry shortcake in the whole wide world.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"In this boisterous romp, four animal friends set out to bake a strawberry shortcake," said PW's starred review. "The illustrations are startling in their pop-off-the-page dimensionality." Ages 4-8. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
What appears to be a simple variant on the story of the Little Red Hen is a very sophisticated and humorous take off filled with verbal and visual humor. If that isn't enough, there is a cooking lesson and plenty of measurement facts and figures in the sidebars of each spread. Big Brown Rooster is sick of chicken feed and his laments "What's a hungry rooster to do?" Remembering stories from his mama, he hunts until he finds her copy of The Joy of Cooking Alone by L. R. Hen. Discovering a recipe for strawberry shortcake, he decides that is it and heads for the farm house kitchen. On the way the Dog, Cat and Goose all declare they will not help, so with a sigh he puts on an apron (it looks like a bonnet) ready to cook alone but suddenly Turtle, Iguana and Potbellied Pig offer to help. What a trio. Iguana takes the instructions literally and pulls up a petunia when asked to fetch the flour uses a ruler to measure and so on. Potbellied Pig wants to taste at every stage and is continually told to wait. Each scene is filled with this quartet creating this magnificent pastry. There is a humorous twist at the end of the tale and on the very last page a copy of the recipe and B. B. Rooster's very own cookbook entitled The Joy of Cooking Together. A book that will have readers cackling with delight.
School Library Journal
Humor is the chief ingredient in this entertaining tale. Big Brown Rooster is hungry for new flavors and seeks out his great-grandmother's cookbook (the Little Red Hen's appropriately titled The Joy of Cooking Alone). In this case, however, Rooster does manage to find some animals that agree to help him. The confused efforts of inept Iguana, greedy Pig, and patient Turtle are amusing, as are Stevenson's slightly skewed representations of familiar objects (Land o' Pond's butter, a T-REX measuring cup). Against all odds, the end result looks delicious, but clumsy Iguana drops the strawberry shortcake on the floor and Pig quickly gobbles it up. Luckily, Rooster is patient, quite determined, and, it turns out, generous. When the four friends create another beautiful cake, even the animals that chose not to participate are invited to enjoy the feast. The basic premise of the story gives it the feel of a fractured fairy tale, and the mix of friendship, fun, and food will satisfy the appetites of most readers. Whether they will take the time to read the sidebars that explain baking terms and techniques-or try the featured recipe-is less clear. Luckily, it's easy enough to skip over the sidebars; and, in fact, doing so makes the story flow more smoothly. The mixed-media illustrations are drawn on paper made from such ingredients as flour, flowers, eggshells, and even baking powder, giving the book added flavor.-Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA
Kirkus Reviews
A cross between a picture book take-off of the story of the Little Red Hen and a cooking lesson on the making of strawberry shortcake. When Big Brown Rooster, great-grandson of the Little Red Hen, discovers a recipe for strawberry shortcake in her book, The Joy of Cooking Alone, he makes up his mind to be a cook. In a nod to the original tale, Dog, Cat, and Goose won't help, but Turtle, Iguana, and Pig volunteer. Panels running down the outer margins of some pages offer further information on cooking; in the meantime, the antics surrounding the baking of the cake overtake the studied connections to Little Red Hen. Though entertaining, the story is not seamless in its many functions; it ends on a flat note with a splat of the shortcake on the floor and a pep talk about teamwork. The real humor is in the hilarious illustrations, where a sketchier-than-usual style gives the book a more hurried appearance. Stevens never misses an opportunity for expressiveness in her characters; her inclusion of funny details adds more silliness to the story, from the overturned copper-pot hat on Turtle to the T-rex measuring cup. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
11.20(w) x 9.60(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

JANET STEVENS is the author and illustrator of many popular books for children. Her picture books have garnered awards including a Caldecott Honor, a Texas Bluebonnet Award, and an American Booksellers Book of the Year Honor. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.

SUSAN STEVENS CRUMMEL is the author of a number of acclaimed picture books, many of which she wrote with her sister, Janet Stevens. A former teacher, Ms. Crummel now spends her time writing and visiting schools as a guest author. She lives in Fort Worth, Texas.

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