This recent title in the "Usborne Phonics Readers" series opens with a note to parents explaining the �synthetic phonics' approach to reading instruction and suggests ways to encourage a child's independent effort. Cheerful cartoonlike farm animals drawn in primary colors illustrate this tale of a hen's adventure when she receives ten new felt pens. After covering page after page with drawings, the hen decides that making zigzag patterns is what she likes best. In no time her paper is filled, so she draws zigzags on eggs. The same zigzag design makes all the eggs look alike and leads to a major mix up. Touches of humor, rhyme, an active story line, and the use of common and phonetic words make this a child-friendly book to encourage new readers. Foldout pages, repetitive text, and a hidden duck on every page entice children to turn the page.