Age Range:
3-6 years

Reading Level A:

Published by
McGraw-Hill School Division

Text copyright
© 2003 Meish Goldish

Illustration copyright
© 2003 Andy San Diego


In HEN HAD HER HAM, Meish Goldish constructs a sequentially ordered recipe for learning new words. A simple sentence structure feeds the reader with clear, consistent cues that help build vocabulary, one layer at a time, just like making a sandwich. And like every good recipe, Goldish has the perfect balance of sugar and spice, stacking this leveled book with silly surprises that mix whimsy into what can otherwise be a frustrating experience; learning to read.  Andy San Diego’s illustrations of the only character in the story, the hen, are equally filled with sugar and spice. The hen’s facial expressions encourage a beginning reader as they struggle to make phonetic sounds. The true gem of this book is that it combines consistency with silliness.

Favorite line
“Hot peppers? HOT! HOT! HOT!”

KEM Sapphire

This easy reader is a splendid reminder of where we all started. Using one and two-syllable words, Goldish takes us through a simple action done by a simple character. San Diego’s no-nonsense illustrations provide some direction, but they are by no means a crutch for a young reader. The gross factor in Hen’s choice of condiments will keep kids turning pages until the end reveals a slight shift in both text and illustrations. Hen’s final condiment is her undoing as she bites into her meal. Hen and her sandwich are a fun and silly way for new readers to meet milestones in literacy and know the triumph of completing an entire book.

Favorite line
“Hen had her ham with grape jelly.”

KEM Diamond

In HEN HAD HER HAM, Meish Goldish’s funny word sandwiches stimulate the appetites of new readers. Illustrator Andy San Diego’s  adventurous, googly-eyed  protagonist educates via giggle-inducing entertainment.

HEN HAD HER HAM taught my youngest granddaughter that she can read–and read well. Our early reader’s confidence has grown to the point that she typically re-reads HEN’S story until A) she gets hungry, or B) a grownup hides the book to keep their eyes from glossing over.

I can particularly identify with Hen because her tongue sticks out when she concentrates; like mine, as I write this. And I’m wondering why San Diego didn’t draw her some milk to follow that surprise ending. Water’s not going to help.

Our copy is a little bent, but if you ever want to borrow HEN HAD HER HAM, I know a little girl who would read it to you.


 Please share your HEN HAD HER HAM comments, too!

2 thoughts on “HEN HAD HER HAM

  1. Due to formatting changes, I am transferring the following comments.
    Meish Goldish on December 29, 2014 at 5:20 am said:
    Thank you for your kind words about “Hen Had Her Ham.” As the author, I am grateful that you find the book so entertaining as well as educational. –Meish Goldish

    • On December 29, 2014 at 1:50 pm, I replied:
      Good, humorous writing and illustrating looks so deceptively effortless. Hen Had Her Ham challenges us to write more entertaining stories for young readers. Thanks for sharing your talent with the world. We’ll be seeking out your other 300 plus titles. In the meantime, on behalf of KEMs, we’re truly honored by your thoughtful response.

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