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Egg Hardcover – January 3, 2017
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From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Four eggs: pink, yellow, blue, and green. Three eggs crack: pink; yellow, blue, but not green. Three surprises: a pink chick, a yellow chick, and a blue chick hatch. Three fly away: pink, yellow, blue chicks; green egg stays put, waiting and waiting and waiting. Three friends return to listen to the green egg. They peck (and peck peck peck and peck some more) until the crack reveals a surprise: a green crocodile. Frightened fledglings fly away, leaving the small green reptile "alone," "sad," "lonely," and "miserable." That is, until the birds return and they all become "friends," and together the four go off into the sun to start a new egg-venture. Geometric patterns repeat, multiply, retreat, reappear. Each cream-colored page is framed with a brown border. Thinner lines sometimes create smaller frames within the larger ones, suggesting the passage of time, movement, and changing emotions. In the final sequence, the sun toward which the birds and croc are heading morphs into another egg: "The end… maybe." Fans of Henkes will delight in his use of line, simple forms, and a gentle palette, all of which clearly portray feelings, depict action, and suggest character. The concise text and straightforward illustrations, however, belie a more complicated tale. Is it simply a story of waiting—perhaps one of friendship? Or does it suggest the cyclical nature of young choosing their actions and flying out into the world? VERDICT This is a book that readers will want to pore over and talk about and read again and again.—Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library
“Full-page spreads [depict] surprise, wonder, and newfound companionship. ...Another stunner from Henkes, who is able to evoke so much with few words and such seemingly simple illustrations. Gorgeous and thought-provoking.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“Thickly outlined in brown, Henkes’s animals exude sweetness and innocence; and a quietly surreal ending, which sees the setting sun morph into an egg and then an orange bird, subtly emphasizes the anything-is-possible potential of storytelling. ...Terrific encouragement for readers to embark on their own narrative experiments.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Fans...will delight in his use of line, simple forms, and a gentle palette, all of which clearly portray feelings, depict action, and suggest character. The concise text and straightforward illustrations, however, belie a more complicated tale. ...This is a book that reads will want to pour over.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
“Picture-book master Henkes...taps into the deepest emotions of preschoolers with the simplest of stories. …Pacing is, as ever, perfect, taking full advantage of the switch from the early, snappy paneled pages to a series of wordless spreads that tell the story of the budding four-way friendship.” (Horn Book (starred review))
“With characteristic understatement, Henkes explores tenderness, acceptance, friendship, and love in this deceptively simple story. ...Henkes’ illustrations provide depth and a meaningful sense of the passage of time. ..The open-ended conclusion invites readers to continue the story themselves.” (Booklist)
“Four eggs wait to hatch, but their destinies differ. ...executed with gentle mirth and invitingly minimal text. ...[youngsters will] appreciate it as a tale of adorable little birds finding an unexpected sibling.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
“Kevin Henkes reprises the delicious milk-chocolate and sugared-pastel color sceme of 2015’s “Waiting” in “Egg.” Part preschool comedy routine, part word primer…children will learn the words “alone,” “said” and “lonely” before the tale takes a conciliatory turn with the making of “friends.” (Wall Street Journal)
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The drawings, the sweet spring colors, and the word repetition drew in my audience and invited participation.