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First the Egg (Caldecott Honor Book and Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book (Awards)) Hardcover – September 4, 2007


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First the Egg (Caldecott Honor Book and Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book (Awards)) + Sleep Like a Tiger (Caldecott Medal - Honors Winning Title(s))
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 2 - 6 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 1
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; First Edition edition (September 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596432721
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596432727
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 8.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Beginning with the die cut on the cover, which completes the title and hides a secret underneath, this delivers a string of delightful surprises as Seeger crisply explores the stages of development in the natural world and, then,  how a story grows. Thickly textured backgrounds provide visual energy for minimalist images that cleverly incorporate additional die cuts. “First the EGG,” reads the text on the opening spread, which pictures the egg through an appropriately shaped hole. When children flip the page, they’ll find a fuzzy chick and its adult counterpart—“then the CHICKEN.” So it goes through the life stages of frog, flower, and butterfly. Suddenly, Seeger turns away from nature. “First the WORD,” she writes, “then the STORY.” “First the PAINT . . . then the PICTURE,” accompanied by a painting that pulls the book together, showing chicken, flower, frog, and butterfly enjoying a beautiful day together. A funny finale sets up the book’s beginning. Pages are sturdy enough to support poking fingers and repeated viewings, both of which are guaranteed. Preschool-Kindergarten. --Stephanie Zvirin

Review

Publishers Weekly
 
In another nimble page-turner, Seeger (Black? White! Day? Night!) toys with die-cuts and strategically paired words. She introduces a chicken-or-egg dilemma on her book’s cover, picturing a plump white egg in a golden-brown nest. Remove the die-cut dust jacket, and a hen appears on the glossy inner cover. The eggshell, thickly brushed in bluish-white and cream, also serves as the chicken’s feathers. This “first/then” pattern is repeated (“First the egg/ then the chicken./ First the tadpole/ then the frog”), with a die-cut on every other page. By flipping a page, readers see the cutout in two contexts. For instance, when an ovoid shape is superimposed on a white ground, it’s an egg; on a yolk-yellow ground, it’s the body of a baby chick. Seeger lines up the recto and verso of every sheet, maintaining a casual mood with generous swabs of grassy greens, sky blues and oxide yellows on canvas. Given the exuberant imagery, the occasional cutout (like the fingernail-size seed of a blowsy peony-pink flower) looks none too impressive. But if minuscule die-cuts seem barely worth the trouble, they do imply the potential in humble sources. Seeger’s clever conclusion brings all the elements together in an outdoor scene that returns readers to the opening: “First the paint/ then the picture… / First the chicken/ then the egg!” Ages 2-6. (Sept.)
 
 
Kirkus Reviews Starred Review
 
A deceptively simple, decidedly playful sequence of statements invites readers to ponder, what comes first: the chicken or the egg? Carefully choreographed page turns and die-cuts focus on the process of change and becoming, so “First” sits alone on a yellow background, facing “the EGG”—an egg-shaped die-cut revealing a white egg against an orange-and-brown background. Turn the page, and “then” appears, the egg-shaped die-cut now forming the yellow body of a chick emerging from the shell, facing “the CHICKEN”—the white hen whose body gave color to the previous spread’s egg. Tadpole and frog, seed and flower, caterpillar and butterfly all receive the same treatment, then word and story, paint and picture bring all the disparate elements together, nature being the catalyst for art. Seeger’s vibrant, textured oil-on-canvas illustrations contain a wealth of subtlety, allowing the die-cuts to reveal cunning surprises with each turn of the page. Children and adults alike will delight in flipping the sturdy pages back and forth to recreate the transformations over and over again. Another perfectly pitched triumph from an emerging master of the concept book. (Picture book. 2-6)
 
New York Times Children’s Books Bestseller List at #9


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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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The illustrations are simple and vibrant!
Nicole
This is a great book...fun for both kids and adults.
BW
It is easy to read, and is a good teaching tool.
Mrs. Linda Roy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

88 of 91 people found the following review helpful By Judy K. Polhemus TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Which came first--the chicken or the egg? Finally, someone is here to tell us. But the answer later.

"First the egg," written and illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, is a Caldecott honor winner for 2008 and an honor book for the Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) Award. What makes it special? Both the artwork and the story, or actually, in this case, concepts that lead from one transformation to the next. Two previous clever winners are Flotsam (Caldecott Medal Book) by David Wiesner and Black and White, an earlier Caldecott by David Macauley.

I took this book from a display in our bi-annual Book Fair. I read it in just one minute. Then reread it. And reread it. Every time I pick up this seemingly simple book, I see something else I missed. Even the covers are part of the story. This book is more than clever--it is brilliant, as in illuminating.

Listen, here is the story. Get comfortable and let me read it to you:

First the EGG
then the CHICKEN
First the TADPOLE
then the FROG
First the SEED
then the FLOWER
First the CATERPILLAR
then the BUTTERFLY
First the WORD
then the STORY
First the PAINT
then the PICTURE, First the CHICKEN
then the EGG!

Well? Exactly! Without the bold colors and almost in-your-face images in the background, the words are fine, but...? A Caldecott Award is given to the most distinguished picture book of the year. Please look at the cover image with this review.
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64 of 69 people found the following review helpful By library lady on January 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have become a big fan of this author's work, which is saying a lot as I am, I'm told, very hard to please. There is a combination of ingenuity and beauty in this book that is almost impossible to describe without book in hand. Very useful for teaching transformation and the way Seeger works in the concept of creativity is no less than brilliant. I highly recommend this book to anyone from age 3 to 90.Dog and Bear (Neal Porter Books) (Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Winner-Best Picture Book) (Awards))The Hidden Alphabet (Ala Notable Children's Books. Younger Readers (Awards)) (Neal Porter Books)Lemons Are Not Red
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. Linda Roy on January 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
We purchased this book for our 3 yr. old grandson for Christmas, and it was wonderful. He just loved it and ask us to read it to him every night before he went to bed, and during the day also. It is easy to read, and is a good teaching tool.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Reading is my hobby on February 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A lovely book for young people, with die cut pages that explain some of life's mysteries in an age appropriate way.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Carrie Dunham-LaGree on January 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
First the Egg exemplifies the reasons the ALA awards Caldecott honors on picture books for the pictures: pictures may tell stories more powerfully than words alone. The story is simple and succinct, but the pictures tell the story. This picture book is nonfiction, and it is informative, but its information more powerfully told through the pictures. The backdrop of the pages are paintings. Through the colors of these paintings and the cutouts of the pages , Seeger makes the connection between eggs and chickens, tadpoles and frogs, seem even more literal. The first page, for example shows a cutout of an egg. When the reader turns the page, it becomes clear the egg was part of the chicken, and the cutout now uses the yellow from the underneath page to form the body of the baby chicken. This theme of continuity and connectedness continues throughout the short book. The pictures in this story are sure to delight and amaze young readers, but the pictures and visual displays are cool enough to fascinate older readers who might want to understand how Seeger achieved the cutout effects. For older students, I would follow a reading of this book with a craft challenge for them to make their own cutout story.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Matthew J. Baek on January 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
FIRST THE EGG is appealing to both young and old. The cut-outs bring out interest of young readers what the next image is going to be. This picture book is so simple in its story and picture that I think it is a great tool to make learning fun. The author cleverly uses causality dilemma of `chicken or the egg' and introduces whole-ray of things that begin and grows or evolves into something else. The page starts out with, `first the egg' and ends with...(don't want to give away the ending but isn't it obvious?) to come back to the beginning answer the never-ending question, first the egg.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M Darrow on December 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Not a night has gone by in weeks where my 18 month old daughter has not picked out First the Egg as one of two books to be read to her before bedtime. The simplicity of the imagery has taught her the vocabulary within the book along with the relationships, including fairly abstract concepts for a toddler (such as the difference between paint and picture). Overall, this is the best picture book puchase I've made.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By BW on June 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book...fun for both kids and adults. I love how the pages have cut outs that clue you in to the next page. Fun!
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