I read the book Along Came a Dog, by Meindert De Jong to my two children (we finished it tonight). I had never heard it, but at Plumfield Academy (which is an AWESOME Charlotte Mason school, and where my daughter goes several days a week), they were reading it as part of the literature curriculum, and as a free read. That is, the students would listen to the teacher read and they would not be expected to produce a narration, writing or retelling the story. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of reading this book in tandem with the class; I got to hear from the teacher about the conversations that the class was having as the story unfolded, I got to hear a bit from my daughter as she told me and my son what they had read, and I got to watch her excitement grow as we caught up to the class and then read ahead at one point. It’s a sweet and thrilling story, beautifully written, extremely profound and completely satisfying. I highly recommend it to all readers, but it’s one to especially read aloud together and savor. [Fair warning: there are some explicit descriptions of the merciless pecking order of a flock of chickens…lots of violent pecking. But worth it and completely in context.]
It was winter, the little red hen froze her toes in the ice. They fell off. A big grey dog came to the barn and it wanted to live there because it really liked the barn. Then the little red hen and the big grey dog met. The little red hen did not get along well with the other chickens because she did not have any toes. The other chickens pecked at her. The rooster almost made her die, but then the dog saved the little red hen. Then the rooster got caught by chicken wire and then his neck got cut off and then the farmer thought that the dog killed the rooster. The farmer took the dog away – anywhere. The dog came back and the little hen had a nest in the swamp. She had five eggs. Then at the ending the dog came back and saved the little red hen from the hawk. And also he saved the newborn chicks. When the farmer saw what the dog did he was so impressed that he kept the dog forever and ever. The end.