Hanne's Quest

( 2 )


Hanne is the smallest, the quietest, and the youngest hen in Mem Pockets’ henhouse, but when the hens learn that Mem might lose her farm, it is little Hanne who volunteers to go on a quest to save them all. If she can find all nine magical grains and eat them, legend says she will be able to lay three golden eggs. But there are many challenges and terrors along her path . . . can little Hanne face them all alone and get back in time to save the farm?

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Hanne is the smallest, the quietest, and the youngest hen in Mem Pockets’ henhouse, but when the hens learn that Mem might lose her farm, it is little Hanne who volunteers to go on a quest to save them all. If she can find all nine magical grains and eat them, legend says she will be able to lay three golden eggs. But there are many challenges and terrors along her path . . . can little Hanne face them all alone and get back in time to save the farm?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this intriguing illustrated chapter book, Dunrea (The Trow-Wife's Treasure; the Gossie & Friends series) whisks readers to the misty island village of Skara Bree (a.k.a. Skara Brae, ancient settlement on the west coast of Orkney, off northern Scotland) where Mem Pockets is in need of a miracle to save her farm from foreclosure. Mem, who spends her days doting on her fine Scaldy hens and taking their speckled eggs to market, is behind in taxes. She laments her desperate situation as she tends the brood, unwittingly stirring her feathered friends to action. Late at night, Old Pegotty, sage of the henwoodie, shares a tale of a Great Mystery that allows certain specially chosen hens (born on the New Moon) to lay three golden eggs-but only if they perform three dangerous tasks. Young Hanne fits the criteria and is entrusted with saving the farm via her brave quest, which takes her North to the fields, West to ancient ruins, then on to the sea and back again. Dunrea may well enchant readers with his blending of elements of mythology and fantasy in this unusual adventure. His evocative, velvety full-page and inset gouache paintings create a rural idyll touched by some mystical drama. Hanne, though sweet-natured and occasionally showing some pluck, may not be a compelling enough character to corral a flock of followers. However, Mem's bond with her is touching, and the feathered heroine also attracts an impressive group of fans to aid her on her quest, including a mole, a sea turtle and a boy who helps her get home. Ages 7-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Sheilah Egan
Hatched at the time of the New Moon, Hanne, the smallest of Mem Pockets' hens, is destined to make a long quest to prove her worthiness to lay three golden eggs—the proceeds from which will save the farm from the tax collectors. Using the charming, fairytale-like storyline, the author introduces such issues as bravery, purity of heart, strength, and wisdom with such deftness that children will simply enjoy the slightly daunting parameters of the quest and absorb the life-messages with the same grace that they have been presented. Good advice and "wise sayings" pepper the language of creatures Hanne meets while on her quest. When she meets the "Keeper of the Barrow," Pieter the mole, he tells her (as they enter the pitch-black barrow) that "Things Are Never as Dark as they may seem." This is the kind of lore that seems to come naturally from the helpful tiny mole whose speech is written with just enough "accent" to give flavor but yet not make reading difficult. In fact, in no way does the author skimp on language. He uses rich, thought-provoking vocabulary but explains through actions or even Hanne's own ponderings about what a word might mean (for instance, "Black as pitch," When Hanne wonders what pitch is—a perfect opportunity for discussion). There are plenty of opportunities for listeners to predict the upcoming action or suggest an explanation for Hanne's observations ("…felt a sticky dampness clinging to her feathers…they tasted salty")—she was near the coast and the sea air was more humid and salty—she had reached the sea! The third part of her quest requires her to visit the ocean and eat three grains "from the Sea God's meat." Having already eaten at thebarrow and the standing stones, Hanne must find a way to complete the three tasks set forth in the ancient poem she had memorized before setting out on her journey. Needless to say, Hanne proves her worth and saves the farm with her gift of three golden eggs. The magic of the story reflects many folktale traditions (wise talking animals, helpful intervention by otherworldly creatures, repetition of magical numbers—three grains, three stones, three tasks, three eggs, escape from peril after realization of failure to follow the precise instructions, and a happy ending). The ninety-five-page book will make an excellent read-aloud and give rise to much discussion, whether as a classroom read or a family reading. The homey illustrations give a visual taste of the setting (an island off the coast of Scotland) and set a tone with enough ordinary daily life to counter the thrills of Hanne's "meeting a barrow-wight" (ghost) or almost being swept out to sea. Well worth adding to any library collection.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-Dunrea clearly enjoys depicting barnyard fowl. In this lengthy, illustrated narrative, the protagonist is the youngest Scaldy in the henhouse. When she and her companions learn that their beloved owner is going to lose the farm, Old Pegotty tells them of an ancient secret: that a hen born at the darkest phase of the moon and is capable of passing three trials might be chosen to lay three golden eggs. Only Hanne was born at this time, and the senior resident teaches her an ancient rhyme containing the clues she needs before she begins her arduous journey. After encounters with an otherworldly barrow-wight in the underground, the ancient power near the Standing Stones, and an enormous sea turtle in the "treacherous tides," she successfully completes her mission and all is well. The combination of folksy barnyard animals and the bumbling Mistress Pockets with the weighty quest plotline doesn't quite work. The rambling, predictable text, paired with one full-page gouache painting and cameo per chapter, also contributes to the sense that the book can't quite decide what it wants to be. Dunrea's hens and chickens are infused with charm; folk-art galleries would provide a better setting for his art than a chapter book.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Demonstrating that no, size doesn't matter, Dunrea sends a small speckled hen on a heroic quest to save her farm with Dragon magic. As is his wont, Dunrea creates a sort of rustic, folkloric setting for this illustrated novelette. Learning that their beloved old keeper Mem Pockets is about to lose the farm for back taxes, the hens gather in their cozy "henwoodie" for a strategy session. When the eldest, Old Peggoty, recalls an ancient rhyme about gaining the ability to lay golden eggs by passing dangerous ritual tests-in a haunted barrow, by three eldritch standing stones and on the roaring shore of the "Great Green Sea,"-timorous Hanne, smallest of the flock, screws her courage to the sticking place and sets out. As it turns out, she gets some supernatural help and, though winning her way back to the farm turns out to be more hazardous than the outward journey, she returns in weary triumph to face a final, deadly challenge: laying those eggs. Presented as a tidy-looking quarto, with a vignette and a full-page, formal painted scene in dark, subtly modulated colors for each chapter, this will appeal to young readers who revel in magic tales, but aren't quite ready for more voluminous fantasies. (Fiction. 8-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399242168
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/2/2006
  • Pages: 96
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: 680L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 8.48 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 3, 2013

    A magical, wonderful story!

    Text and pictures work together to give this tale a beauty that is found in older texts of quests and journeys and bravery: the ancient myths, fairy tales, epic poetry. Hanne the hen is the central character, the bravest and the truest, and it is she upon whom the Quest is laid. The sacrifice required of her is great, but she does not quit. Her journey and adventures, trials and tribulations, are enormous, but she grows in bravery, courage, truth, loyalty, through it all. A book about a very great love, and its gift of life.

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  • Posted January 27, 2009

    Just the right Quest

    Both our boys, ages 7 and 10, enjoyed hearing Hanne's Quest read aloud. The gentle hen faces just enough intrique to keep it a page turner. This is a book that embraces its young readers, and adults will enjoy reading it, too.

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