Cook-a-doodle-Doo! By Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel Illustrated by Janet Stevens

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By Janet Stevens and

Susan Stevens Crummel

Illustrated by Janet Stevens
Peck. Peck. Peck.

“Always chicken feed! Day after day--- year after year---I’m sick of it!” squawked Big Brown Rooster. “Can we get something new to eat around here? Please? Nobody’s listening. What’s a hungry rooster to do?”

“There’s no hope. Wait a minute…” Rooster remembered a story his mama used to tell, a story handed down from chicken to chicken. The story of his famous great-grandmother, the Little Red Hen.

Rooster rushed into the chicken coop. “It has to be here,” he said. He looked high and low, and there it was at last, hidden under a nest---her cookbook.

The Joy of Cooking Alone by L. R. Hen.

Rooster carefully turned the pages. “So many recipes--- and I thought she just baked bread! Look at the strawberry shortcake!”

“That’s it! I’ll make the most wonderful, magnificent strawberry shortcake in the whole wide world. No more chicken feed for me!”

“Yes sirree---just like Great-Granny, I’ll be a cook! COOK-A-DOODLE-DO-O-O!” crowed Rooster as he pranced toward the big farmhouse.

Cook-a-doodle-doo?” said Dog.

“Have you lost your marbles, Rooster?” asked Cat.

“You’ve never cooked anything before!” said Goose.

“That doesn’t matter,” replied Rooster. “Cooking is in my blood---it’s a family tradition. Now, who will help me?”

“Not I,” said Dog.

“Not I,” said Cat.

“Not I,” said Goose.

And away they went.

Rooster pushed open the kitchen door. “It looks like I’m on my own … just like Great-Granny.” He sighed and put on his apron.

“We’ll help you.”

Rooster turned, and there stood Turtle, Iguana, and Potbellied Pig.

“Do you three know anything about cooking?” Rooster asked.

“I can read recipes!” said Turtle.

“I can get stuff!” said Iguana.

“I can taste!” said Pig. “I’m an expert at tasting.”

“Then we’re a team,” declared Rooster. “Let’s get ready and start cooking!”

Turtle read the cookbook. “Heat oven to 450 degrees.”

“I can do that!” said Iguana. “Look, I’ll turn the knob. 150, 250, 350, 450. Hey, cooking is easy!”

Rooster put a big bowl on the table. “What’s our first ingredient?” he asked.

“The recipe says we need flour,” said Turtle.

“I can do that!” said Iguana. He dashed outside and picked a petunia. “How’s this flower?”

“No, no, no,” said Rooster. “Not that kind of flower. We need flour for cooking. You know, the fluffy white stuff that’s made from wheat.”

“Can I taste the flour?” asked Pig.

“Not yet, Pig,” said Turtle. “The recipe says to sift it first.”

“What does sift mean?” asked Iguana.

“Hmmm,” said Turtle. “I think sift means ‘to search through’…”

“You mean like when I sift through the garbage looking for lunch?” asked Pig.

“I can do that?” said Iguana. And he dived into the flour, throwing it everywhere!

“No, no, no,” said Rooster. “Don’t sift the flour like that. Put it through the sifter.” Rooster turned the crank and sifted the flour into a big pile.

“Can I taste the pile?” asked Pig.

“Not yet, Pig,” said Turtle. “Now we measure the flour.”

“I can do that!” said Iguana. He grabbed a ruler. “The flour is four inches tall.”

“No, no, no,” said Rooster. “We don’t want to know how tall it is. We want to know how much there is. We measure the flour with this metal measuring cup.”

“We need two cups,” added Turtle. “So fill it twice.”

Rooster dumped the two cups of flour into the bowl.

“Can I taste it now?” asked Pig.

“Not yet, Pig,” said Turtle. “Next we add two tablespoons of sugar, one tablespoon of baking powder, and one-half teaspoon of salt.”

“I can do that!” said Iguana. He looked under the table. “But where are the tablespoons?” He looked in the teapot. “No teaspoons in here!”

“No, no, no,” said Rooster. “Don’t look in the teapot or under the table! These spoons are for measuring. Each holds a certain amount.” Rooster measured the sugar, baking powder, and salt, poured them into the big bowl, then sifted all the dry ingredients together.

“Looks awfully white in there,” said Pig. “I better taste it.”

“Not yet, Pig,” said Turtle. “Now we add butter. We need one stick.”

“I can do that!” cried Iguana. He raced outside and broke off a branch. “How’s this stick?”

“No, no, no,” said Rooster. “Not that kind of stick. A stick of butter.” Rooster unwrapped the butter and dropped it into the bowl.

“That butter is just sitting there like a log,” said Pig. “Maybe I need to taste it.”

“Not yet, Pig,” said Turtle. “Next we cut in the butter.”

“I can do that!” said Iguana. “Uh-oh. Scissors don’t cut butter very well.”

“No, no, no,” said Rooster. “Don’t cut the butter with scissors. Use these two table knives, like this.”

Rooster cut in the butter until the mixture was crumbly.

“Looks mighty dry in there,” said Pig. “Perhaps I should taste it.”

“Not yet, Pig,” said Turtle. “Now the recipe says to beat one egg.”

“I can do that!” cried Iguana.

“No, no, no,” said Rooster. “Don’t beat an egg with a baseball bat! We use an eggbeater.” Rooster carefully broke the egg into a dish, beat it with the eggbeater, and poured it into the big bowl.

“That looks tasty,” said Pig. “Please let me taste it.”

“Not yet, Pig,” said Turtle. “Now add milk. We need two-thirds of a cup.”

“I can do that!” said Iguana. “Here, hold that glass measuring cup and I’ll saw off a third. We’ll use the other two-thirds to measure the milk.”

“Wait,” said Pig. “Why don’t we fill the measuring cup to the top and I’ll drink down a third?”

“No, no, no,” said Rooster. “The cup has marks on it – 1/3 – 2/3 – 1 cup. We’ll fill it to the 2/3 mark.” Rooster poured the milk into the bowl.

“It surely needs tasting now!” said Pig.

“Not yet, Pig,” said Turtle. “Now we mix the dough and put it in a greased baking pan.” Rooster stirred and spread as Turtle read, “Bake in the oven for fifteen to eighteen minutes.”

“I can do that! Cried Iguana.

Iguana shoved the pan into the oven. “Let’s see, fifteen minutes equals nine hundred seconds. I’ll count them. One, two, three, four ----”

“No, no, no,” said Rooster, and he set the timer so that Iguana would stop counting the seconds. Pig burned his tongue on the oven door trying to taste the shortcake. Turtle studied the cookbook to see what to do next.

“Let’s cut up the strawberries and whip the cream,” said Turtle.

And they cut and cut and whipped and whipped, until … ding!

Rooster grabbed the oven mitt off Iguana’s head and took the shortcake carefully out of the oven.

“Oh, it’s beautiful, and it smells sooo good,” said Pig. “I know I have to taste it now.”

“Not yet, Pig,” said Turtle. “We need to let it cool.”

Soon the shortcake was ready to cut. Rooster sliced it in half.

They stacked one layer of cake, one layer of whipped cream, one layer of strawberries.

Then again – cake, cream, berries.

It looked just like the picture of the strawberry shortcake in the cookbook.

“This is the most wonderful, magnificent strawberry shortcake in the whole wide world,” said Rooster. “If Great-Granny could see me now! Let’s take it to the table.”

“I can do that!” cried Iguana.

He yanked at the plate. The shortcake tilted… and slid…


Right on the floor.

Pig was ready. “Now it’s my turn – to taste it!”

In a split second the strawberry shortcake was gone. Every last crumb had disappeared into the potbelly of the pig.

“Our shortcake!” Iguana cried. “You ate it!”

“I thought it was my turn,” replied Pig. “I’m the taster, remember? And it tasted great!”

“No, no, no!” cried Rooster. “Listen to me! We made this shortcake as a team, and teams work together.”

“But Pig ate it!” whined Turtle.

“Iguana dropped it,” pouted Pig.

“Turtle should have caught it,” grumbled Iguana.

“It doesn’t matter,” said Rooster. “The first shortcake was just for practice. It won’t be as hard to make the second time!”

“Well,” added Turtle, “we don’t have to worry about messing up the kitchen. It’s already a mess.”

“So, who will help me make it again?” asked Rooster.

Pig, Turtle, and Iguana looked at each other.

“I will!” said Pig.

“I will!” said Turtle.

“I will!” said Iguana.

“Cook-a-doodle-dooooo!” crowed Rooster. “Let’s get cooking again!”

Together they made the second most wonderful, magnificent strawberry shortcake in the whole wide world. And it was a lot easier than the first time!

Comprehension Questions:

  1. Compare and Contrast Rooster and Great-Granny.

  1. Which friend is most helpful to Rooster? How do you know?

  1. What is the author’s main purpose in writing this story? How do you know?

  1. Summarize the events in the story.

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