Pamela Allen is a phenomenon in the world of children's literature. For almost thirty years her picture books have enchanted generations of children in Australia and overseas and many of her titles have won prestigious awards and commendations. She has earned classic status through the enduring popularity of her stories with the very young. Pamela's books are full of the music of language; they are 'fragments of theatre', designed to be read aloud and shared between an adult and a child. Eight of Pamela's titles were adapted for the stage by Patch Theatre Company, and performed in the Sydney Opera House. In 2004, Grandpa and Thomas won the Children's Book Council Book of the Year Award- Early Childhood and The Potato People was named an Honour Book in the same category in 2003, and Grandpa and Thomas and the Green Umbrella was shortlisted for the same award in 2007, as was Shhh! Little Mouse in 2008. Is Your Grandmother a Goanna? won a 2008 Speech Pathology of Australia Book of the Year Award, as did Our Daft Dog Danny in 2010. 'From Pamela Allen's first publication in 1980 it was clear that here was a creator of picture books with all the glow, gesture, din and dance to capture the attention, engage the imagination, teach, show, tickle and excite small children.' Me
PreS-K In a box inside a shed is a nest on which there sits a little red hen. Proudly and patiently, she sits on her six brown eggs while the fancy white leghorns fuss around her. ``Took, took,'' she replies. Finally, after carefully primping and preening, she stands to reveal her six yellow chicks. ``Cheep, cheep!'' The three white leghorns proclaim, ``Took, took, took. . .!'' and the rooster crows, ``Cock-a-doodle-do!'' And the little red hen is the star of the barnyard. Fancy that! Although Fancy That! initially sounds like one of Allen's cumulative tales, it lacks the chain-of-events momentum and rollicking rhythms of Bertie and the Bear (1984) and A Lion in the Night (1986, both Putnam). The sole source of drama here is the little hen's secret. However, the book's graphic clarity and the simplest of plots make it a natural choice for toddlers, especially when one considers their fascination with animal young and animal sounds. Executed in Allen's signature style, the colorful line and wash illustrations are just the right size for group presentations. Simple lavender borders surround both the illustrations and the text but cannot contain the tooking, cheeping, and cock-a-doodle-doing of the farmyard fowl as they celebrate the new arrivals. Jeanne Marie Clancy, Wolfsohn Memorial Library, King of Prussia, Pa.