Three Hens and a Peacock

26 Apr

Three Hens and a Peacock

written by Lester L. Laminack and illustrated by Henry Cole (2011)


Lester Laminack has done it again! This story is wonderful on so many levels. It’s funny and teaches a lesson about jealousy and appreciation without being didactic. The peacock is new to the farm. He’s beautiful, fancy, and showy. And when he struts by the side of the road, customers stop to buy eggs, tomatoes, corn, or milk. The hens are jealous of all the attention he gets when it’s them doing all the useful egg-laying work while he gets the glamorous job. In a hilarious change of roles, the hens dress up and strut their stuff by the road while the peacock squeezes himself into the coop to lay eggs. No one is successful and everyone is exhausted and frustrated by their efforts to be something they’re not. Eventually, they realize that in their own ways, everyone does what they do best, and they return to their own duties on the farm.

Henry Cole’s illustrations are exciting and vibrant. They bring this story to life. I love the details of expressions he uses on each of the characters. You can’t see from the cover, but in addition to the three hens and the peacock, there is an old hound dog and a couple of cows who are priceless. His illustrations are so comprehensive, that even the youngest child could ‘read’ the story independently without knowing a single letter or word.

I was fortunate enough to meet Lester Laminack in the summer of 2008, at a literature conference for teachers. He was an amazing speaker with more personality than one room could contain. I see that in this book as well. At the time, I bought Saturdays and Teacakes (2004), a much more quiet story, and his teaching guide Cracking Open the Author’s Craft: Teaching the Art of Writing (2007). I used both in my classroom and in my own work with great success.

2 Responses to “Three Hens and a Peacock”

  1. Patricia Tilton April 26, 2014 at 10:45 PM #

    I love that cover! The look on those hens faces. What a fun book for kids.


    • Juliana Lee April 26, 2014 at 11:20 PM #

      I met the author years ago and was very impressed, but I hadn’t read this book. So glad I found it now.


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