Author: Lydia Dabcovich
Publisher: E. P. Dutton
Word Count: 151
This story is perfect for ages: 2-4, 4-6
Straight from Aunty LuLav
Mrs. Huggins and Hannah the Hen are best friends who do everything together. Living in a cottage, they farm together, clean, bake, shop and enjoy a warm fire each evening.
One day, Hannah becomes ill and Mrs. Huggins can not nurse her back to health. Hannah dies and Mrs Huggins mourns deeply.
Then one morning, Mrs Huggins hears a tiny surprise in Hannah’s nest, a hatching egg, a tiny chick!
Scriptural Underpinnings & Positive Themes
RELATIONSHIP & LOVE
This is a slow and simple story dealing with the loss of close companionship through death. Mrs Huggins looks like a 60 something lady, living in a cottage with Hannah her hen. The simple text shows a loving relationship between the two, as they go about the daily task of living the farm life.
When Hanna is sick and dying, she is home and Mrs Huggins tries to nurse her back to health with medicines and care.
DEATH & GRIEF
The next scene is in a green meadow, Mrs. Huggins standing beside Hannah’s gravestone, weeping. I think this is such an important aspect to address with children. There is a finality in physical death that children feel and perceive and need to talk about. As adults grieve loss, we often think children can not understand it. Graves and burials can become scary memories for them, if we deal with them in silence.
There is a page where Mrs. Huggins is weeping at home alone beside Hannah’s nest. Grief and loss happen behind closed doors, in our homes, away from others. Children may see adult members of their family crying and processing grief, and not fully grasp what is happening.
While Mrs Huggins weeps, if you look closely, there is something in Hannah’s nest that was not there before! A little egg beginning to hatch. HOPE!
For Christian families, the hatching egg and new birth of Hannah’s daughter leaves a lot of room for a Biblical discussion of death and eternal life and being Born Again!
GENERATION TO GENERATION
The tiny, fuzzy chick hatches and it is Hannah’s daughter. Now Mrs. Huggins lives with Hannah’s daughter and they do everything together!
This is a precious picture of family lineage from one generation, to the next. When a loved one dies, part of them lives through their offspring. There we can find joy and solace, within our families as we grieve loss. There we can joyfully remember the one we lost and loved.
ONE STEP REMOVED
This story is great for young children. The simplicity of the text, leaves a lot of room for questions and discussion. The scenes of illness, the grave, and weeping, may be less frightening, as it is the death of a chicken, and not a person. It is one step removed and this makes it a little less scary for young children in my opinion.
The illustrations are warm and cozy, reflecting the love between Mrs Huggins and Hannah the Hen!