Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sticky Situation: Stuck in the Mud by Jane Clarke

Early in the morning

Down on the farm,

A new day was dawning–

Peace and calm.

The barn door burst open.

“Wake up,” said the hen.

“I’ve counted my chicks

And one’s run off again.”

The poor little chick is soon found seemingly stuck in the deep, thick mud, and when Mama Hen wades in to rescue her baby, she finds herself stuck, too. In a reversal of the Little Red Hen theme, this hen gets plenty of help from her barnyard buddies. First Cat, then Dog, and then Sheep and Horse take the plunge into the mud, all to no avail. Instead of extracting Hen and her chick, they all are admittedly mired. Finally Farmer moves in to, um, clean up the soiling situation, and soon all are mired in the mud and stuck in the muck.

“Oh, dear,” said the chick.

“You all seem to be trapped.”

“Splat,” went the mud as

The little wings flapped.

It’s time I got out,”

And with a small plop,

Chick jumped off the mud

With a skip and hop hop!

“You pushed me and pulled me

Again and again.

But I’m not stuck now

And I wasn’t stuck then!”

“Mud is great fun!

I’m sure you’ll agree.

I love mucky mud!

Thanks for playing with me!”

Jane Clarke’s skillful use of the cumulative tale format will have children chanting the rhymes as animal after animal puts himself into the predictable predicament in the mud. Garry Parson’s illustrative style, first seen in Trouble at the Dinosaur Cafe,, is perfect for this kid-pleasing tale of a little chick who makes the grownups look a bit silly while having a gooey good time for himself in the merry muddy middle of the puddle.

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