Three Hens and a Peacock by Lester L. Laminack, illustrated by Henry Cole. Peachtree Publishers (March 2011); ISBN 9781561455645; 32 pages
Book Source: Review copy from publisher
The cover sets the tone perfectly for the book. A peacock arrives on the Tucker family's farm and the once quiet farm becomes a bustling, noisy place. The shrieking, strutting peacock catches the attention of those passing by. Many visitors stop to admire the peacock and purchase produce from the farmer's stand. With ruffled, jealous feathers, the hens complain, "that lazy peacock gets all the attention and we do all the work." Hoping to smooth things over, the farm's wise old hound suggests that the hens switch places with the peacock. The hens get all gussied up in bangles and beads while the peacock tries his hardest to lay an egg and fails miserably. Eventually, they all learn that taking another's place is harder than it looks, and they gain an appreciation for each other's unique talents.
Full of plenty of humor and a subtle lesson in character, Three Hens and a Peacock is a frolicsome farmyard tale. Cole's eye-catching watercolor, ink and colored pencil illustrations play a huge part in advancing the storyline. Even the endpapers serve a purpose. The peacock feathers in the front announce the upcoming arrival of the peacock, and the back endpapers foretell the next surprising events on the farm -- hmm...what kind of animal lays a very big egg?
There are plenty of ways to use the book as a teaching tool. Besides discussing the problems of trying to be someone you're not, I took the opportunity to also discuss with my kids why a peacock with a fancy feather train cannot lay an egg. I opened our DK Encyclopedia of Animals (seriously, every home library should contain at least one animal encyclopedia) and found the page about peacocks. It shows a nice picture of a peahen next to a peacock. We learned that peahens, the female birds, do not have colorful fans. Male birds sport the fancy feathers and use them to attract the females. Thus, the bird pictured in Laminack's book is a male, and male peacocks cannot lay eggs. :) We also learned that a peacock's train can reach up to 5 ft.-3 in. high! Wow, that's only a few inches shorter than Mommy!
Lester L. Laminack - Website
Henry Cole - Website
National Geographic - Peacock
Peafowl - Enchanted Learning
Peacock - PBS Nature Video on Teachers' Domain
The proud, flamboyant peacock character calls for an equally stunning craft. Our peacock folded fans are pretty "fan"-tastic, I must say so myself! With this craft, kids can manually fold and unfold the peacock's shimmery train feathers.
1. Following the Folded Fan instructions found on Family Fun, construct the circular fan. Cut a sheet of 12" by 12" green scrapbook paper in half to make a 12" x 6" piece of paper.
2. Starting with the 6" side, accordion fold the paper making the folds around 3/4' wide. Once folded, find the center of the folded paper and staple.
3. Take two popsicle sticks and glue the sticks onto the paper, one on each side of the staple. Allow glue to dry.
4. After the glue dries, bring the two popsicle sticks together and secure with a rubber band. Bring the top sides of the fan together to form a circle and use invisible tape to secure the peacock's fanned out feather train. Using yellow and orange paint, dot feather "eyes" onto the fan with your finger.
5. When the paint dries, glue small sequins on top of the feather eyes to add some shimmer.
6. Cut out a peacock body shape from blue cardstock. Decorate with blue glitter glue and add a yellow beak, googley eye and blue head crest.
7. Glue a folded piece of paper to the back of the body.
8. Turn the fan over. Adhere the peacock body to the fan by gluing the other side of the folded paper on the back of the body to the underside of the popsicle stick on the right (refer to picture below). Allow to glue to dry.
Fold the fan together and then have fun showing off the peacock's magnificent train by slowing unfolding the fan! Can you make your peacock dance?
A Mommy's Adventures hosts the "stART" meme (Story + Art) each week. Add your kids craft post to the Kid's Get Crafty linky at Red Ted Art's Blog. Join in Read Aloud Thursday at Hope is the Word. Show off your ideas at ABC & 123 Show and Tell. Find more great book tie-ins at JDaniel4's Mom Read, Explore, Learn link-up.
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