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Don't Forget the Bacon!

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Don't Forget the Bacon!
Don't Forget the Bacon.jpg
Book cover
AuthorPat Hutchins
IllustratorPat Hutchins
GenreChildren's literature
PublisherBodley Head
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardcover)
LC Class75017935

Don't Forget the Bacon! is a children's book written and illustrated by Pat Hutchins. It was published by Bodley Head in 1976. The story is about a little boy who tries to memorise a list of groceries his mother has asked him to buy. The book has been used as a teaching tool to instruct children about early learning concepts.

In an analysis of teaching tools for remedial readers, Maurice Saxby notes in the book Books in the Life of a Child: Bridges to Literature & Learning, "Hutchins's Don't Forget the Bacon has been one of my most successful texts." Andrea Hillbrick's Tuning in with Task Cards includes a teaching lesson structured around the boy's shopping list from the story. The book Foundation Blocks suggests Don't Forget the Bacon! be used to teach children about the concept of miscommunication, and Bilinguality and Literacy lists the story among those used to help assist a bilingual child develop fluency in English.

Don't Forget the Bacon! was a success in England and the United States, and received positive reception from the American Library Association, and The Washington Post. The story was recommended in 2005 as part of a children's reading challenge announced by the Education Minister for New South Wales, Australia, and included in suggested reading by The Times as part of the 2008 recognition of World Book Day.


The story is about a little boy who leaves his home with his dog to shop for food items for his mother, and attempts to remember the grocery list of things she wanted him to buy. The original request from his mother is "six farm eggs, a cake for tea, a pound of pears, and don't forget the bacon". Along with the dog, he is accompanied on his trip by a butterfly. In order to avoid forgetting items, the boy recites his mother's list to himself. Throughout his trip to the grocery store, the boy sees items along the way that play tricks with his memory, and items on his list one-by-one become substituted with other goods. He keeps thinking about the wrong things and buys the wrong things. For the first item, "Six farm eggs" initially becomes "Six fat legs", then "Six clothes pegs". The second one, "A cake for tea" initially becomes "A cape for me", then "A rake for leaves". Finally, for the third, "A pound of pears" initially becomes "A flight of stairs", then "A pile of chairs". By the end of his trip, the boy has forgotten the initial items requested, and supplants them in his mind with "Six clothes pegs, a rake for leaves, a pile of chairs, and don't forget the bacon". Then he goes to the junk shop and says to a merchant there, "Six clothes pegs, a rake for leaves, and a pile of chairs please!". Before the boy is about to buy the six clothes pegs, the rake for leaves, and the pile of chairs, the merchant gets confused from the boy's grocery list (requested by his mother). The merchant in the junk shop, he then assists the boy in compiling about this odd list.

The merchant knows that the boy --all along-- had correct items (six farm eggs, a cake for tea, and a pound of pears). But it was "Six clothes pegs, a rake for leaves, and a pile of chairs" instead. The boy gets confused with this odd list. While traveling back to his home, he remembers the original items (on his mother's grocery list). After he remembers the original --and correct--) items that his mother has requested, he (one by one with the original items) corrects his mistakes while traveling back home. Then on the way home, he says to himself, "Six farm eggs, a cake for tea, and a pound of pears". After saying that, he is happy that he has remembered those three items (the six farm eggs, cake for tea, and pound of pears). Soon he has the list right and has the correct items. However, he has forgotten the bacon when he gets home. At that, he says out loud, "I FORGOT THE BACON!". That is, to which the mother gasps out loud (surprised as she hears this).

The final page depicts the child carrying a basket and a coin purse, taking his dog attached to a leash (after his mother has collected the three items; the six farm eggs, the cake for tea, and the pound of pears) for an en-route. The boy's mother sets the boy off for an en-route since he forgot the bacon. He does an en-route probably to purchase the bacon which he forgot. The bacon (since it's meat), would most definitely come from a butcher's shop. As he and his dog do the en-route to purchase the bacon, he tells himself that he should write down a list the next time he goes out grocery shopping and his mother tells him the list (like a checklist) so he does not get distracted and forget the list again.


In his work Best Books for Beginning Readers, Thomas G. Gunning places Don't Forget the Bacon! within the themes of utilising humor in the learning process with children.[1] Don't Forget the Bacon! has been used as a learning tool for children in education, in order to teach them about various themes including miscommunication,[2] responsibility,[3] and the reliability of spoken language.[4] In an analysis of teaching tools for remedial readers, Maurice Saxby notes in the book Books in the Life of a Child: Bridges to Literature & Learning, "Hutchins's Don't Forget the Bacon has been one of my most successful texts."[5] The book is utilised in author Andrea Hillbrick's Tuning in with Task Cards as a teaching lesson: children are assigned to collect items from the initial and final versions of the shopping list from the boy in the story, and subsequently total the prices of the tabulated items.[6] It is listed by Manjula Datta in the book Bilinguality and Literacy: Principles and Practice among stories to help assist a bilingual child develop fluency in the English language.[7] Joy Palmer and Joanna C. Birch list the book in their work Geography in the Early Years as a recommendation for children among "Story Books Suitable as Starting Points in Geography".[8] In her book Foundation Blocks: Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Mavis Brown suggests the story be used to teach children about the theme of miscommunication.[2] The story is used in a case study in education, which is cited in the book Improving Teaching and Learning in the Core Curriculum by Kate Ashcroft and John Lee.[4] Children were read the story, and then asked "about how and why spoken language is sometimes unreliable – and its consequences."[4]

Books including Belair Early Years: Stories,[9] Books as Bridges: Using Text to Connect Home and School Literacy and Learning,[10] Funny Photo Alphabet: Teaching Guide,[11] and What Is It About Me You Can't Teach? suggest the story be used to teach children about rhyming, repetition, and prediction.[12] The story is suggested for use in curriculum to teach children about food, in books Humanics National Preschool Assessment Handbook,[13] and The Complete Daily Curriculum for Early Childhood.[14] Mildred R. Donoghue writes in Language Arts: Integrating Skills for Classroom Teaching that the story should be utilised in the course of primary education.[15] In their work Success in Reading and Writing, authors Barbara J. Blackford, Helen Cappleman and Betty Cramer suggest the book be read aloud to children in kindergarten, and the teacher should subsequently quiz members of the class to see if they can recall items from the boy's shopping list.[16] Authors Diane Stirling, Linda McKay, Georgia Archibald and Shelley Berg recommend the story in their book Character Education Connections: For School, Home and Community, in order to teach children the character trait of responsibility: "A willingness to be accountable for your own actions without blaming others."[3]


Pat Hutchins was born 18 June 1942.[17] A native of Yorkshire, she attended a local art school for three years on scholarship before studying illustration at the Leeds College of Art. Hutchins's first children's work, Rosie's Walk, was named a 1968 ALA Notable Book, and her book The Wind Blew received the 1974 Kate Greenaway Medal. She lives in London and has written twenty-five books and five novels.[18]

Publication history[edit]

Don't Forget the Bacon! was published by Bodley Head in 1976.[19] It was published again in New York by Greenwillow Books in 1976, and Puffin Books in 1976 and 1978.[20][21][22] An edition by imprint Picture Puffin was published in London in 1978.[23] Imperial Educational Resources produced a version of the story in 1980, as a filmstrip geared for children in primary school.[24] It was published by Live Oak Media in 2004,[25] and by Paw Prints in 2009.[26] Gallaudet University produced a DVD video edition aimed at youth versed in sign language.[27]


Don't Forget the Bacon! became a successful book in both England and the United States;[28] Hutchins has become known for the work.[29] Sharron L. McElmeel wrote in An Author a Month (for Nickels), "This is an example of Hutchins's more realistic drawings and of a reversible text."[20] A reversible text refers to a story which proceeds in the forward direction, and concludes with the protagonist returning to a development introduced at the story's inception.[20] The American Library Association gave Don't Forget the Bacon! favourable mention in its review of the book, "The picture book crowd (kindergarten through second grade) will adore Pat Hutchin's story of a grocery list and a bad memory."[30] In an article for The Washington Post, associate professor and director of the reading clinic at Western Maryland College, Joan Coley, observed that the repetitive nature of the story is appealing to children.[31]

Michele Landsberg, author of Reading for the Love of It: Best Books for Young Readers noted in an article for The Washington Post that Pat Hutchins is "best known" for her "witty picture books", including Don't Forget the Bacon!.[32] In 2005, New South Wales, Australia, Education Minister Carmel Tebutt announced Don't Forget the Bacon! had been included as part of "Premier's Reading Challenge", under the section, "The 2006 Challenge Book Lists: Years K-2 Challenge".[33] In 2008, Elizabeth McFarlane of The Times included the book in a list of works recommended to encourage children's reading skills for World Book Day.[34]

See also[edit]


^[A] Secondary source references consulted to assist in summarising information for Plot section include Brodt 1987,[35] Elleman 1976,[30] and McElmeel 1990.[20]


  1. ^ Thomas G. Gunning (1997). Best Books for Beginning Readers. Allyn & Bacon. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-205-26784-2.
  2. ^ a b Mavis Brown (2006). Foundation Blocks: Personal, Social and Emotional Development. Curriculum Corporation. p. 37. ISBN 1-86366-788-1.
  3. ^ a b Diane Stirling; Linda McKay; Georgia Archibald; Shelley Berg (2000). Character Education Connections: For School, Home and Community. National Professional Resources Inc. p. 19. ISBN 1-887943-28-5.
  4. ^ a b c Kate Ashcroft; John Lee (1999). Improving Teaching and Learning In the Core Curriculum. Routledge. p. 62. ISBN 0-7507-0813-1.
  5. ^ Maurice Saxby (1998). Books in the Life of a Child: Bridges to Literature & Learning. Palgrave MacMillan. p. 217. ISBN 0-7329-4520-8.
  6. ^ Andrea Hillbrick (2004). Tuning in with Task Cards: Middle Primary. Australia: Curriculum Corporation. p. 74. ISBN 1-86366-748-2.
  7. ^ Manjula Datta (2001). Bilinguality and Literacy: Principles and Practice. Continuum. p. 68. ISBN 0-8264-4840-2.
  8. ^ Joy Palmer; Joanna C. Birch (2004). Geography in the Early Years. Routledge. p. 196. ISBN 0-415-32070-4.
  9. ^ Pat Gains (2000). Belair Early Years: Stories. Belair Publications Ltd. p. 57. ISBN 0-947882-47-2.
  10. ^ Jane Baskwill (2010). Books as Bridges: Using Text to Connect Home and School Literacy and Learning. Pembroke Publishers. p. 25. ISBN 978-1-55138-250-0.
  11. ^ Kara Munn (2005). Funny Photo Alphabet: Teaching Guide. Blake Publishing. p. 31. ISBN 1-86509-908-2.
  12. ^ Eleanor Renée Rodriguez; James A. Bellanca (2006). What Is It About Me You Can't Teach?: An Instructional Guide for the Urban Educator. Corwin Press. p. 64. ISBN 1-4129-3764-7.
  13. ^ Derek Whordley; Rebecca J. Doster (1983). Humanics National Preschool Assessment Handbook. Humanics Ltd Partners. p. 189. ISBN 0-89334-097-9.
  14. ^ Pamela Byrne Schiller; Pat Phipps (2002). The Complete Daily Curriculum for Early Childhood. Gryphon House. p. 176. ISBN 0-87659-228-0.
  15. ^ Mildred R. Donoghue (2008). Language Arts: Integrating Skills for Classroom Teaching. Sage Publications, Inc. p. 408. ISBN 978-1-4129-4049-8.
  16. ^ Barbara J. Blackford; Helen Cappleman; Betty Cramer (1991). Success in Reading and Writing. GoodYear Books. p. 109. ISBN 0-673-36000-8.
  17. ^ James Preller (2001). The Big Book of Picture-Book Authors & Illustrators: Grades K-3. Scholastic Professional Books. p. 64. ISBN 0-439-20154-3.
  18. ^ "Author – Pat Hutchins". Author Extras. HarperCollins. 2010. Archived from the original on 21 October 2012. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
  19. ^ Morag Styles; Eve Bearne; Victor Watson (1994). The Prose and the Passion: Children and Their Reading. Cassell. p. 123. ISBN 0-304-32772-7.
  20. ^ a b c d Sharron L. McElmeel (1990). An Author a Month (for Nickels). Teacher Ideas Press. p. 40. ISBN 0-87287-827-9.
  21. ^ LCCN 75-17935
  22. ^ LCCN 77-13096
  23. ^ David Whitebread; Penelope Coltman (2008). Teaching and Learning in the Early Years. Routledge. p. 397. ISBN 978-0-415-42479-0.
  24. ^ OCLC 9016468
  25. ^ OCLC 149134584
  26. ^ OCLC 319500298
  27. ^ OCLC 547192948
  28. ^ "Festival features authors from England to Midway Island". Redlands Daily Facts. Los Angeles Newspaper Group: MediaNews Group. 27 January 2003.
  29. ^ Adele Pentony (21 November 2003). "Tales of tailcat make children smile". Greater London, Kent, and Surrey Counties Publications. Newsquest Media Group Ltd.
  30. ^ a b Barbara Elleman; Capsule reviews prepared by the American Library Assn. (3 September 1976). "About Books: A Funny Book Is Not So Hard To Find". The Tuscaloosa News. Tuscaloosa, Alabama. p. 13.
  31. ^ Joan Coley (24 August 1982). "Children: See Dick and Jane Read". The Washington Post. p. B5.
  32. ^ Michele Landsberg (5 November 1989). "All in the Family". The Washington Post. p. 23.
  33. ^ Carmel Tebutt (27 November 2005). "Love of books a lifetime gift: minister -Premier's Reading Challenge". The Sun-Herald. Sydney, Australia: John Fairfax Publications Pty Limited. p. 1; Section: Supplement.
  34. ^ Elizabeth McFarlane (6 March 2008). "Leave it to Captain Underpants – Parents". The Times. Times Newspapers Limited. pp. 2, 10, Section: Features.
  35. ^ Bonita Brodt (5 July 1987). "Tribune Books". Chicago Tribune. p. 5.

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