There are lots of versions of The Little Red Hen out there, and I haven't read them all. But this version by Jerry Pinkney is my new favorite. My mother used to tell us this story all the time when I was growing up. I can't read this book without thinking of her, ever calm, trying to get dinner on the table while enlisting the help of her six kids.
The little red hen finds some wheat seeds on the ground and asks the animals in the barnyard to help her plant them. They all shake their heads. "Not I," they say. So the little red hen plants them herself, with the help of her chicks.
When the wheat is ready for harvest, she asks again "Who will help me harvest the wheat?" And all the barnyard animals reply "Not I". So she does it herself, then marches off to take the wheat to the mill to be ground.
"Who will help me bake the bread?" she asks. Of course she gets no volunteers, so she makes the bread with the help of her chicks. When the aroma of the baking bread circles the barnyard, all the animals come to the window. "We will help you eat the bread!"
But the little red hen clucks "No. My chicks and I will eat it." The last page reads: She set the table for herself and her family, cut the warm, soft bread, then spread sweet berry jam on each slice. Oh joy of joys!