Wednesday 20 May 2009

Wheels for The Little Red Hen

The postmark is illegible but I received the card in 2005.
The Little Red Hen.
This traditional tale is turned on its head in the hands of artist Barry Downward, whose outrageous photo collages zap humour and new life into a classic story.
Available March 2004.

Barry Downward is a South African artist who enjoys manipulating photos.  He was asked to illustrate the familiar English children's tale of The Little Red Hen.  The story remains the traditional version but the illustrations have a new and original treatment.

The story, for those who don't know it, is of a hen who found some wheat grain.  She asks for help in planting it from a duck, a pig and a cat.  "Not I" said the duck, and so do they all.  So she plants it herself.  She then asks for help harvesting the wheat - the same answer.  She asks for help baking bread - the same answer.  But when it comes to helping with the eating of the bread, she has willing volunteers, but the little red hen eats it herself.

I love this illustration of the little red hen, off to the mill on her bicycle with the harvested wheat in her basket, wearing a natty little helmet, peddling with the aid of hinged contraptions which end in red wellington boots.  Great fun!  The story was a favourite in my time and my children's time, and with illustrations like this it will surely remain a favourite with new generations.


  1. Just stopping by to say hello Sheila. I love the new look. I have been pretty busy with church activities and home life, so I am sorry I have not been by. I hope all is well with you. God bless.


  2. When I was a kid, I LOVED that story! I had no idea someone had taken it to such wonderful extremes.

    LOVE that postcard!

  3. hen riding on a bicycle :)

  4. She's really rushing off, isn't she? I think her boots go really well with your banner photo! Great postcard. Thanks for sharing it and the story of the artist.


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