Along Came a Dogby Meindert DeJong, Maurice Sendak (Illustrator)
The friendship of a little red hen and a homeless dog who appoints himself her protector ‘is treated by the author with delicacy and strength in lovely and lucid prose.’ —C."A moving story, full of suspense." —H.
Read an Excerpt
The Man Who Talked to Animals
The man was in the chicken coop. It was earlyon a Sunday morning in April. Daylight hadnot yet come to the farm, and the makeshiftchicken coop up in the horse barn above theempty horse stables was dim and dark, and thechickens were still sleeping on the roost. But theman's stirring about in the darkness awakenedthe chickens. The whole row of white chickens with the big rooster in their midst rose up on the roost pole, peered, nervous and unseeing, at the shadowy man.
Then a little red hen squeezed out of the long white row, hopped down from the roost pole to the front edge of the roost, and opened her wings as if to fly out to the man. She did not quite trust herself to make the plunge into the darkness over the floor. She weaved and teetered, a small rusty blob against the dim, chalky whiteness of the row of chickens behind her on the roost pole.
"Don't you do it," the man said to the bobbing little hen. "If you fly down, they'll all come down. And that's exactly why I got up way before dawn to clean this hen house I didn't want any chickens underfoot."
The little hen gathered herself, peered eagerly toward the sound of his voice. "Not that, either!" the man warned her. "Don't you dare try to fly to my shoulder. It'll get them all started, and I've got to have more time with this floor. Golly, it's all ice! I didn't realize it could get cold enough in here to freeze ice under a foot of straw."
His eyes swept along the chickens on the roost."Ice under straw! Gosh , if it got that cold in here, it'll be a wonder if some of you didn't freeze yourcombs or toes," he observed to himself. "No, stay there," he ordered the little red hen. "Just close those wings. And I'll close my mouth so you won't try to find me by the sound of my voice."
He began scraping at the ice with a spade. But as he stooped to reach under the roost to scrape at a stubborn patch of ice there, the little hen stepped off the roost and on to his stooped back. The man jerked erect. The little hen ran up his back and balanced herself on his shoulder.
"Oh, you! You would think of that! Well,ifthat's where you've got to be, then hang on. I'mgoing to get all this ice and dirty straw off thefloor and shoveled out the window before the restof them come down."
The little red hen shifted on the man's shoulder, came close to his cheek, excited by the sound of his voice.
"You'd be even more excited if you knew it was spring outside," the man told her. "It's hard to believe in here it's all winter and ice in this coop, but spring came in the night. Honest!"
The little hen started nibbling his cheek, but the man began scraping at the stubborn ice again. The little hen clung fiercely to his shoulder, balancing herself the best she could. At last the man finished scraping the ice and shoved it to the dirty bedding straw that he had piled before a window. "Now come and see," he told the little hen. He clambered over the straw pile and pried the window out of its casing, set it against the wall. Slowly, to give the little hen time to change her position, he leaned far out of the window opening. "See? Spring! It came in the night. Feel it all soft and warm and wonderful? And it's here to stay."
The little hen on his shoulder outside the window stood absolutely still, and the soft spring warmth that had come to the land in the night came welling up to her from the ground far below. She flapped her wings.
The man laughed softly. "If you could crow, now you would crow, wouldn't you? Hey! Let's let them all know it's spring. Let winter out of the coop and spring in. Yeah, that's what I'll do take all the windows out, and let this whole first wonderful day of spring come into the coop."
It had taken hours, but now the floor of the hen house was dry and clean, fanned to dryness by the breezes that came warmly through the row of open windows. And now the man came with crisp, clean, new straw. He dumped it *in scattered mounds over the floor, and immediately the waiting flock attacked the mounds. The hen house rustled with the crispness of new straw.
And the sun came out! Sunlight suddenly glistened on the gleaming straw. The whole hen house became still busier. The flock turned the straw and spread the straw. Straw sprayed and straw flew. The little red hen was right in the midst of the digging, kicking, scratching white flock, digging herself a hole, almost burying herself in straw. Only the rooster stood idle amid his hard-working flock.
But the sun was out, the sun was rising in the sky. Importantly the rooster strode across the floor, hopped up to a window sill, filled his chest, and crowed a mighty crow to crow the sun up in the sky and sunlight into his busy hen house.
The little hen poked her head up from the hole she had dug and looked at the crowing rooster. She thoughtfully looked from the rooster in the window sill to the high row of nests that rose against the end wall of the hen house. She started to dig again, but then she hurried through the loose straw to the nests. The time had come to lay an egg.
Meet the Author
Meindert DeJong is the award-winning author of many classic books for children, including the Newbery Medal-winning The Wheel On The Schooland the Newbery Honor-winning Along Came A Dog, Shadrach,and The House Of Sixty Fathers, all available in Harper Trophy editions and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Among Mr. Sendak's other popular books is his Caldecott Medal-winning Where The Wild Things Are.
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The book Along Came a DOG is about a dog that wants to be friends with a little red hen. The dog was very determined to get to the red hen. The man who owned the hen won¿t let the dog near the house because of what happen last summer. The lesson in this book is don¿t judge a book by its cover and don¿t judge people too quickly. My favorite part was when the man apologizes to the dog saying that he¿s sorry for everything bad I¿ve done to the dog. I loved this book and I hope you do to.
the carachters are a red hen and a dog. at the begining the hen lost her toes and the dog made himself the hen's protector.then the hen laid 2 eggs and colected 3 then a man found the dog and kept it because he helped the dog.