E-I-E-I-O: How Old MacDonald Got His Farm with a Little Help from a Hen

Overview

The Little Red Hen gives old MacDonald some pointers on composting — and a legendary farm is born — in this rhyming, rollicking read-aloud.

Once upon a time, Old MacDonald didn’t have a farm. He just had a yard — a yard he didn’t want to mow. But under the direction of the wise (and ecologically sensitive) Little Red Hen, Mac learns to look at the environment in a very different way, and whole new worlds start to bloom with the help of some mud, garbage, horse poop, and worms! ...

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Overview

The Little Red Hen gives old MacDonald some pointers on composting — and a legendary farm is born — in this rhyming, rollicking read-aloud.

Once upon a time, Old MacDonald didn’t have a farm. He just had a yard — a yard he didn’t want to mow. But under the direction of the wise (and ecologically sensitive) Little Red Hen, Mac learns to look at the environment in a very different way, and whole new worlds start to bloom with the help of some mud, garbage, horse poop, and worms! Judy Sierra’s spirited verse, paired with Matthew Myers’s exuberant illustrations, yields a fresh take on a children’s classic, complete with raised-bed gardens and an organic farmers’ market—making this a perfect story for armchair gardeners and devoted locavores of all sizes.

A 2014 Parents' Choice Award Recommended Picture Book

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 11/18/2013
Like his neighbors, this Old MacDonald has a high-maintenance lawn: “MacDonald said, ‘I love my yard,/ but mowing grass is mighty hard.’ ” Enter a remarkable red hen, who is a horticultural expert (her “Resume of Horticultural Fowlishness” includes a stint at Versailles) with a plan for turning the backyard into a low-impact, high-yield organic garden. Old MacDonald’s neighbors need some convincing—in fact, they organize a NIMBY protest against the garden’s unsightly mud and smelly natural fertilizers (“A LAWN IN EVERY YARD” and CHANGE IS BAD” read protestors’ signs). But soon enough, nearly everyone either has the gardening bug or is saying, “ ‘Mac sure is smart,’/ as they bought fresh food from his garden cart.” Sierra (Wild About You!) has written an ingenious parable that’s ripped-from-the-headlines (or HGTV), and she has a two-peas-in-a-pod partnership with Myers, whose sculptural pictures and sly comedy add just the right amount of visual extravagance. Close readers will also be rewarded with manure jokes and a new meaning for Old MacDonald’s vowel-heavy refrain: “Enjoy It! Everything Is Organic!” Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
Sierra has written an ingenious parable that’s ripped-from-the-headlines (or HGTV), and she has a two-peas-in-a-pod partnership with Myers, whose sculptural pictures and sly comedy add just the right amount of visual extravagance.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Myers’ inventive acrylic-on–illustration board paintings add a bushel of laugh-out-loud details, from documents attesting to Red’s impressive horticultural credentials to an in-your-face depiction of horse poop. ... Bits of Sierra’s text can be sung to the familiar tune, rendering this a good choice for spring storytimes and family read-alouds. Sierra’s upbeat look at small-scale local farming, fulsomely fertilized by Myers, yields a harvest of good fun.
—Kirkus Reivews

This rhyming narrative is a refreshing twist with two beloved characters. ... The bright, quirky acrylic and oil illustrations bring the story to life, adding many sidebars to the story, coupled with just enough text on each page to make the book great for reading aloud. Curriculum ties to science and health could easily be made.
—Library Media Connection

A sustainability take on the old nursery rhyme, this humorous go-round places the Little Red Hen in the role of consultant to Old MacDonald. ... Myers’ acrylic-and-oil illustrations are eye-popping, with wildly exaggerated faces and bodies. A fun twist on an old favorite.
—Booklist

Myers’s illustrations capture the fun with expressive animals and grumpy, bow-tied neighbors. This title offers a great way to extend the song into a lesson about the plant cycle and suburban farming. An excellent purchase for general collections as well as curriculum support.
—School Library Journal

Written in rhyme and perfectly complemented by comical illustrations, this very funny story on ecology is a brilliant gem.
—Pocono Record (syndicated from Kendal Rautzhan)

Clever couplets and bright, comic illustrations.
—San Francisco Chronicle

From the Publisher
Sierra has written an ingenious parable that’s ripped-from-the-headlines (or HGTV), and she has a two-peas-in-a-pod partnership with Myers, whose sculptural pictures and sly comedy add just the right amount of visual extravagance.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Myers’ inventive acrylic-on–illustration board paintings add a bushel of laugh-out-loud details, from documents attesting to Red’s impressive horticultural credentials to an in-your-face depiction of horse poop. ... Bits of Sierra’s text can be sung to the familiar tune, rendering this a good choice for spring storytimes and family read-alouds. Sierra’s upbeat look at small-scale local farming, fulsomely fertilized by Myers, yields a harvest of good fun.
—Kirkus Reivews

A sustainability take on the old nursery rhyme, this humorous go-round places the Little Red Hen in the role of consultant to Old MacDonald. ... Myers’ acrylic-and-oil illustrations are eye-popping, with wildly exaggerated faces and bodies. A fun twist on an old favorite.
—Booklist

Myers’s illustrations capture the fun with expressive animals and grumpy, bow-tied neighbors. This title offers a great way to extend the song into a lesson about the plant cycle and suburban farming. An excellent purchase for general collections as well as curriculum support.
—School Library Journal

Written in rhyme and perfectly complemented by comical illustrations, this very funny story on ecology is a brilliant gem.
—Pocono Record (syndicated from Kendal Rautzhan)

Clever couplets and bright, comic illustrations.
—San Francisco Chronicle

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
In this variation of the old song, Old MacDonald has a house, and a yard that he does not enjoy mowing. The sprightly rhymes are regularly punctuated with the E-I-E-I-O chorus. He tries a goat but finds it to be no help, so he gets a very bright chicken. Following her clever instructions, he gradually lays down dirt, puts down garbage, and gets a horse for “poop.” Then he sets up a compost box to deal with the smell. Next, he orders seeds to plant, “and magic happened underground.” Soon Mac is selling cheese, eggs, honey, and fresh-grown food. Old MacDonald now loves his farm, with a final E-I-E-I-O! Cartoon characters produced in acrylic and oils act out this revised version of the old ditty, as they show the evolution of a productive farm, first producing and selling from a garden cart and then expanding to the multi-crop farm, complete with red barn, chicken coop, beehive, and yellow sunflowers. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz; Ages 4 to 8.
School Library Journal
02/01/2014
PreS-Gr 2—Most children know about Old MacDonald and his animals, but did they ever wonder how he got that farm? Sierra imagines a rollicking suburban scenario that starts when MacDonald gets tired of mowing the lawn and begins to seek out creative alternatives. A grass-nibbling goat is joined by the "smartest hen in history," and the fun begins. The lawn is covered with cardboard and dirt, a horse arrives to help create compost, and the seeds of the farm are planted. Myers's illustrations capture the fun with expressive animals and grumpy, bow-tied neighbors. This title offers a great way to extend the song into a lesson about the plant cycle and suburban farming. An excellent purchase for general collections as well as curriculum support.—Martha Link Yesowitch, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, NC
Kirkus Reviews
2013-12-01
In this rhymed caper, Old MacDonald has a house--and a high-maintenance lawn that's ripe for change. His new goat prefers the hedges to the lawn, so Old Mac acquires a chicken. "Not your average bird was she, / but the smartest hen in history." Little Red directs Mac through a backyard transformation that includes sheet mulching, composting, manuring (Mac gets a horse), vermicomposting (via a worm bin) and raised-bed gardening. The farmer-in-training takes flak from suburban neighbors outraged about the mud and stink that mark the transition from lawn to full-fledged minifarm. Soon, though, they're gladly buying veggies, goat cheese and honey from "Mac and Red's Homemade Farm" and eggs from their "Co-op Coop." Myers' inventive acrylic-on–illustration board paintings add a bushel of laugh-out-loud details, from documents attesting to Red's impressive horticultural credentials to an in-your-face depiction of horse poop. (The artist takes "square-jawed" to a new dimension to depict Old Mac.) In one scene, healthy root veggies commingle with worms in three-quarters of the picture plane, while aboveground, Mac chats up an appreciative letter carrier. Bits of Sierra's text can be sung to the familiar tune, rendering this a good choice for spring storytimes and family read-alouds. Sierra's upbeat look at small-scale local farming, fulsomely fertilized by Myers, yields a harvest of good fun. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763660437
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 2/25/2014
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 163,326
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD620L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.90 (w) x 11.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Judy Sierra is the author of many books for children, including the best-selling Wild About Books, illustrated by Marc Brown. She is also the author of The Gruesome Guide to World Monsters, illustrated by Henrik Drescher. Judy Sierra lives in Eugene, Oregon.

Matthew Myers is the illustrator of Bartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind by Gary Ross as well as many other books for young readers, including Tyrannosaurus Dad by Liz Rosenberg and Clink by Kelly DiPucchio. Matthew Myers lives in Brooklyn.

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