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A hertwarming tale from the beloved author of The Mitten
Mei Mei has the six happiest hens in China. She gives them treats and fresh hay baths, and when she calls to them-gu gu gu gu gu!-they all run to her as fast as they can. But one of the hens, Daisy, is not always so happy. The other hens pick on Daisy and push her off the perch every night, knowing that she is too small to stand up to them. Then one day Daisy accidentally drifts out onto the river in a basket and must quickly learn how to survive. When Daisy finds her way home, this plucky little hen is no longer afraid. Jan Brett and her husband, Joe, traveled with their daughter-in-law, Yun, and her husband, Sean, to China, the land where Yun was born. During this trip, Jan found the inspiration for Daisy's story. Picked on, pecked, and jostled, Daisy the hen is not quite as happy as her Happy Hens market basket might suggest. One evening, fed up with the other pushy hens, Daisy crawls into one of the baskets by the river, and falls asleep. Unaware of the rising river, this put-upon bird winds up floating downstream, past marauding monkeys, snorting water buffalo, and a greedy fisherman. Will Daisy ever make her way back to the home of the little girl Mei Mei and the six happiest hens in all of China? Breaking away from her usual Scandinavian illustrations and stories, Jan Brett embraces the beauty of China in this Story About Ping-inspired picture book. Bamboo poles frame the lavish illustrations of picturesque villages, strangely shaped mountains (Brett incorporates images of the animals into the ranges), and river-life characters. As in The Hat and her many other tales, Brett advances the plot with miniature border details. (Ages 4 to 7) --Emilie Coulter