Review: Can Hens Give Milk? by Joan Betty Stuchner

can hens give milk

Can Hens Give Milk? by Joan Betty Stuchner, illustrated by Joe Weissmann

Shlomo and Riva live on a farm where they have five children, twelve hens and one rooster.  Rivka wishes that they had a cow to give the family milk and cheese.  That night, Shlomo had a dream that showed him what they could do.  Cows eat grass and give milk, so he reasoned that if the hens were fed grass, they would give milk too.  But the hens refused to eat the grass.  One of the daughters, Tova, came up with the idea of rolling the grass into pellets that look like the grain that the hens usually eat.  But even then, the hens would not eat the grass.  There was only one thing to do, and that was to force the hens to each eat one pellet of grass.  The family then left them to lay eggs and give milk overnight.  What do you think happened next?  All I will say is that in the end, the family had eggs AND milk.  But how?

This story of a fool and his family is written with great humor.  Children will immediately recognize the nonsense of the logic that Shlomo and his family are using, so they will enjoy seeing the story play out.  There is plenty of opportunity for laughter as new solutions are generated and then also proven to not work.  It’s a story that will have you grinning just because of the silliness of the entire book.

Weissman’s art is bright and silly as well, reveling in the humor of the text.  The dreams of milk and cheese are brought to life as are the hiccupping and indignant hens. 

A silly book that will lend a lot of laughter to a unit or storytime on food, this book reads aloud well.  Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from library copy.

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