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An Extraordinary Egg Paperback


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 and up
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Lexile Measure: 520L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Dragonfly Books; Reprint edition (November 17, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679893857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679893851
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.9 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lionni "is in typically fine form" with this witty story about three frogs who have a "memorable" adventure, said PW. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3-A fable about friendship with a touch of mistaken identity. One day Jessica, an adventuresome young frog, rolls home a "beautiful stone" to show her two froggy friends. Marilyn, who knows "everything about everything," states with absolute certainty that it's a chicken egg. So when an alligator hatches, the three frogs are surprised and delighted with how well their "chicken" can swim. When she saves Jessica from drowning in a tangle of weeds, the two become inseparable friends. One day, a bird lands to lead the alligator back to her mother; Jessica accepts this with equanimity. She is a heroine whose wonder at the world and loyalty to her friends rank her with such erstwhile heroes as Joyce's "Bently" and Dr. Seuss's "Horton." But while those two stalwarts protect and cherish their eggs before they hatch, most of this story centers on the relationship that develops after the little alligator springs from its shell. Lionni's understated text perfectly complements his signature illustrations, which are a skillful combination of collage, crayon, and watercolors. An eggs-traordinary treat from a master storyteller.
Jane Marino, Scarsdale Public Library, NY
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

author spotlight
"From time to time, from the endless flow of our mental imagery, there emerges unexpectedly something that, vague though it may be, seems to carry the promise of a form, a meaning, and, more important, an irresistible poetic charge."--Leo Lionni

Leo Lionni wrote and illustrated more than 40 highly acclaimed children's books. He received the 1984 American Institute of Graphic Arts Gold Medal and was a four-time Caldecott Honor Winner--for Inch by Inch, Frederick, Swimmy, and Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse. Leo Lionni died in October of 1999 at his home in Tuscany, Italy, at the age of 89.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

"Of all the questions I have been asked as an author of children's books, the most frequent one, without doubt, has been 'How do you get your ideas?' Most people seem to think that getting an idea is both mysterious and simple. Mysterious, because inspiration must come from a particular state of grace with which only the most gifted souls are blessed. Simple, because ideas are expected to drop into one's mind in words and pictures, ready to be transcribed and copied in the form of a book, complete with endpapers and cover. The word get expresses these expectations well. Yet nothing could be further from the truth.

"It is true that, from time to time, from the endless flow of our mental imagery, there emerges unexpectedly something that, vague though it may be, seems to carry the promise of a form, a meaning, and, more important, an irresistible poetic charge. The sense of instant recognition with which we pull this image into the full light of our consciousness is the initial impulse of all creative acts. But, though it is important, it produces no more than the germ of an idea. Each book, at the birth of its creative history, has such a moment. Some are fortunate enough to have, from the outset, a strongly identified hero, one with an inescapable destiny. Others are blessed with a promising beginning, or perhaps with the vision of an ending (which means working backwards to a surprise opening). Others stem from a clearly articulated conflict situation. Sometimes, I must admit, the motivations of a book may be found in a sudden, unreasonable urge to draw a certain kind of crocodile. And it may even happen that in the dark of our minds there appears, out of nowhere, a constellation of words that has the bright, arrogant solidity of a title. Only last night I was jolted out of a near-slumber by the words the mouse that didn't exist. I am sure that, temporarily tucked away in my memory, they will eventually become the title of a story for which as yet I have no idea.

"To shape and sharpen the logic of a story, to tighten the flow of events, ultimately to define the idea in its totality, is much like a game of chess. In the light of overall strategy, each move is the result of doubts, proposals, and rejections, which inevitably bring to mind the successes or failures of previous experiences.

"Inspirational raptures may happen, but most books are shaped through hard, disciplined work. Creative work, to be sure, because its ingredients come from the sphere of the imaginary. But the manipulation of these ingredients requires much more than mere inclination or talent. It is an intricate process in which the idea slowly takes form, by trial and error, through detours and side roads, which, were it not for the guidance of professional rigor, would lead the author into an inextricable labyrinth of alternatives.

"And so, to the question 'How do you get your ideas?' I am tempted to answer, unromantic though it may sound, 'Hard work.' "


Leo Lionni has gained international renown for his paintings, graphic designs, illustrations, and sculpture, as well as for his books for children. He was born in Holland in 1910 of Dutch parents, and although his education did not include formal art courses (in fact, he has a doctorate in economics from the University of Genoa), he spent much of his free time as a child in Amsterdam's museums, teaching himself to draw.

Lionni's business training gradually receded into the background as his interest in art and design grew. Having settled in Milan soon after his marriage in 1931, he started off by writing about European architecture for a local magazine. It was there that he met the contacts who were to give him a start as a professional graphic designer. When he moved to America in 1939, Lionni was hired by a Philadelphia advertising agency as art director. Later he became design director for the Olivetti Corporation of America, and then art director for Fortune magazine. At the same time, his reputation as an artist flourished as he began to exhibit his paintings and drawings in galleries from New York to Japan.

Lionni launched his career as an author/illustrator of books for children in 1959. Originally developed from a story he had improvised for his grandchildren during a dull train ride, Little Blue and LittleYellow was the first of what is now a long list of children's picture books, including four Caldecott Honor Books.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I read it in my class.
Ben
I always love to find a story that teaches important lessons with plenty of fun and humor.
Tiare Sol
Very cute book and just the right length.
D. Comiskey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jen Lynn on November 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
"An Extraordinary Egg" is a beginning reader picture book about three sister frogs that live on an island. One of the frogs, Jessica, finds an egg in some stones and brings it home. The three sister frogs believe it is a chicken egg, even though none of them has ever seen a chicken. The egg hatches, and it is an alligator but the frogs still think it is a chicken. They all become good friends, and "the chicken" even saves Jessica's life one day when she falls into the water. Soon though, the chicken's mother and the "chicken" are fatefully reunited. Jessica goes back and tells her sisters that it was very funny that the chicken's mother should call it "my sweet alligator." After all, their chicken couldn't have been an alligator!

I found this picture book by Leo Lionni particularly appropriate for children 4-5 years old, especially kindergarteners. I absolutely loved this humorous tale of three frogs who adopt an alligator they call "chicken" as their friend. Numerous lesson plans for teachers be drawn from its text, including concepts such as friendship, nature, and differences among animals. As part of my author study for World Literature for Children, I compiled a lesson plan about the many differences between chickens, frogs, and alligators. I had students make a chart listing the differences among each. They also explored new vocabulary, like the word "extraordinary," and each child was able to name something they thought was extraordinary. At the end of the lesson, students could write a follow-up story to "An Extraordinary Egg" and illustrate it with some of the same materials that Leo Lionni used to make the pictures for the book.

The illustrations in "An Extraordinary Egg" are nothing short of amazing and beautiful.
Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
It's that time of year again when many are looking forward to Easter and Easter Egg Hunts. But, what if someone found a really unusual egg, and to make it even more unique there's not a chicken inside but an alligator?
That's the proposition the irrepressible Leo Lionni puts forth in this delightful yarn about three frogs who find the surprise of their lives.
As always his illustrations capture the eye as his mind captures imaginations.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tiare Sol on November 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
I always love to find a story that teaches important lessons with plenty of fun and humor. Jessica the frog and her friends are certain that the egg Jessica found one day is a chicken egg. One day, the egg hatches, and the "chicken" is born...a long, scaly green creature who crawls out searching for the water.
Despite the frogs' misinformation and their obvious differences, Jessica and the "chicken" become great friends. When they discover the chicken's mother at last, the frogs think it is the funniest thing in the world that she refers to her baby as an "alligator."
Both my 2 year old and 4 year old appreciate the humor in this story. I was worried that my 2-yr. old might become confused, but she just laughed and said, "Alligator, Mommy. No chicken!" This is a wonderful book for learning about friendship despite differences. It was also a nice introduction to alligators, including the fact that they hatch from eggs!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Quinn Jorge on April 9, 2014
Format: Paperback
My kindergarten class is learning about oviparous animals and this was a fun book to introduce another animal that hatches from an egg. The pictures amazed the class. The characters were friendly, kind and had a good sense of humor.

(Note: My class is also learning how to express their opinion through writing. They helped to write this review.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Julie James on March 10, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is wonderful. It has become a favorite in our home. We purchased the book because of the above average vocabulary words in it. The story is cute and shows friendship among different creatures. I thought the humor of the book was great with the frogs convinced that the mystery egg was a chicken egg. They even call their new friend "chicken." Very cute book! We have really enjoyed it. I would highly recommend The Extraordinary Egg to others.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Blankenship HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on September 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
Three rather adventurous frogs find an egg. Is it a chicken egg? Is it, as they first think, a pebble? Well no, it is an alligater egg. this is a wonderful little tale right out of the swamp. The simple illustrations fit quite well with the story line and are quite eye catching. Kids seem to love this one and even like it read to the over and over and over again. The story does bring home the good lesson that is is just fine to be different, as the three frog find. This is one of those books that is nice to have in your book stack for something quick to read or for a quick bed time read for the little one. Like all of Leo Lionni's work, the quality is high, the story good and the art work interesting. It would be hard to go wrong with this one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ann Marie Grumm on June 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
Jessica declares they've discovered a chicken egg. She helps the youngster find her mother and Jessica is astonished when the mother calls her baby an alligator. Simply loveable and laughable. An excellent read-aloud. See Lionni's imagery of Rodin's Thinker when Jessica visits her quiet place.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
My kids love this book. They are 3 and 5 years old. This book follow the adventures of Jessica the frog who finds an alligator egg. The other frogs tell her it is a chicken egg and they call the baby alligator a chicken throughout the book (the kids get a kick out of this - and try to correct me after they heard the story again and again). Things good for kids from this book: 1) nature 2) use your imagination 3)explore the world around you.
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