Customer Reviews: An Extraordinary Egg
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on November 28, 2004
"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. With each turn of the page, a colorful double page spread is a feast for the eyes. Pen and ink, pastels, and collage were used to create the setting, three frogs, and the alligator. By doing this, Lionni creates a fun and entertaining world that kids won't hesitate to fall into. His illustrations match the age and reading level of the kids who will read the book because Jessica and her sisters are simply illustrated with materials and colors that four and five year olds like to see and use.

The overall quality of this book is outstanding. The text can certainly stand on its own without the illustrations, although the illustrations bring out a humorous element that is key to the storyline (i.e. the chicken is really an alligator). Both text and illustration complement each other in a way that makes the story funny and enjoyable. Other books by Leo Lionni that are similar to this one are: "Cornelius," "It's Mine!," and "Fish Is Fish." These have similar characters and themes (i.e. friendship) that go along with "An Extraordinary Egg." Ruth Heller also has a book called "Chickens Aren't The Only Ones: World of Nature Series" which is pictoral introduction to most animals that lay eggs.

In short, I think this book is a quality picture book, most appropriate for those who can't read yet or are beginning readers. You won't be disappointed with it, because it is simple, funny, beautifully illustrated, and has lessons about friendship and differences, especially qualities that make us unique. It also comes in a Big Book, so teachers can read it to their class without worrying if students can see or not.
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on November 8, 2003
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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on November 30, 2014
Purchased as a gift, but of course HAD to make sure it was kid friendly ; ) Its a great book for little ones. Mr. Lionni still his child like imagination. Delightfully fun to read. I enjoyed it tremendously and I know my little friend will love it as well, type of book you read over and over and pass on to your kids.
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on April 25, 2016
I love to buy books for my preschool children. I also love a good deal! I was doing a unit on Leo Lionni and did a search on Amazon for Leo books. All of his available books were at my fingertips. Extraordinary Egg came to me in great condition and fast! I always order used books because my students' little fingers do not need a "new" book! I will definitely order more books from this seller!
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on April 23, 2014
In this book, there are cute graphics and nice vocabulary attracting the kids. When It comes to the end, there is a silly and funny conclusion about that egg made us laugh. I enjoy so much and read it again and again to my kid.
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on November 24, 2015
When Jessica frog finds an egg while out walking one day, she and her friends are sure it belongs to a chicken. So sure, in fact, that when an alligator pops out instead, they refuse to see it for what it really is.

This book makes a hilarious read-aloud. The whole wink-wink-nod-nod when the frogs are sure the alligator is a chicken makes many children feel smart and like they're part of an inside joke. On a deeper level, there's plenty to discuss about first impressions, flexibility, trust, and learning from others. Bonus: No frogs, chickens, OR alligators were harmed in the reading of this book.
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on April 9, 2014
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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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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on March 10, 2011
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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on January 2, 2013
Leo Lionni's illustrations are lovely, the story is cute and relatively short.

Another reviewer described the storyline very accurately, so I would just note that the book has relatively short/small sentences per page, but the text still might be a bit long for an impatient or active 2 year old, esp. if they are too young to know that calling an alligator a "chicken" is meant to be humor. I'd say ideal for Ages 3-5.
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