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Egg: Nature's Perfect Package Hardcover – March 3, 2015
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From the Publisher
A Look Inside How the Book Was Made
In some ways, the egg is the perfect subject for a non-fiction picture book. In one neat, often colorful, sometimes surprisingly-shaped package, the egg provides an introduction to animal reproduction, animal architecture, unusual defensive strategies, predation, parenting behavior, evolution, and more.
But rather than taking an overview and trying to explain all the important aspects of eggdom, Egg focuses on the extremes of size and form. This includes the ways and places eggs are laid, egg quantities, the ways eggs are protected, and the sometimes surprising ways that eggs become another animal’s dinner. This is a look inside the creation of this book from Steve Jenkins.
Researching and Sketching: The Start of the Process
Observing the Subjects: Research
We read books about eggs — lots of books. Some were books for children, some for adult readers. We also did research on the internet. And we visited zoos and natural history museums, taking notes and photos of anything related to animal eggs. We collected information and images from all of these sources, then made small prints of the eggs we were thinking of using in the book.
Putting Ideas to Paper - Thumbnail Sketching
Our books begin with pages of little sketches known as thumbnails. These sketches are quick and rough, which makes it easy to try out a lot of ideas in a short time. We often make dozens of thumbnail layouts for a book, experimenting with different layouts and sequences. Finished sketches of each subject serve as templates for the final illustrations.
Writing It Out - Composing the Text
The text for Egg began as a series of lists and notes written by hand in a notebook. These jottings evolved into rough text, also written by hand. I prefer this medium to the computer at the beginning of the writing process. Rough text on a screen looks too finished, and I find it difficult to throw ideas out and start over. Eventually, I do type the text into a computer program, print it out, and edit it by hand. Then the text goes to our editor, who makes comments and corrects spelling and grammar. By the time the text is finalized, it’s been through a dozen or more drafts.
Creating the Art - From Start to Finish!
Step 1: Make a Sketch
The illustrations in Egg are cut-and-torn paper collage, but they start out as a pencil sketch. This sketch will be used as a template for cutting out the pieces of color paper, which will be assembled into a final illustration.
Step 2: Choose the Right Paper
Now it’s time to pick the papers I’ll use in my collage. These are a few of the papers for the image of a chicken hatching.
Step 3: Voila! Final Art
Here’s the final illustration.
From Art to Production - The Final Stage
Inputting Illustrations Into the Layout.
We designed the book using InDesign, a computer desktop publishing program. The illustrations are scanned and placed on the pages and the text is copied from a manuscript and added to the layout. The finished file is called a digital mechanical. Then we print out each page on a color printer. The printouts are trimmed, folded, and bound into a dummy — a handmade book that shows us how the finished volume is going to look.
Creating the Mechanical
The final digital file with all images and text in place — the mechanical — is delivered to the publisher. There an art director and copy editor check it over, then send it to the printer. The illustrations are converted into a pattern of tiny dots that are either cyan (blue), magenta (pink), yellow, or black. These dots combine to make all of the colors and detail in a printed illustration. Sheets of paper are passed through a large printing press, where the four colors are laid down one at a time. Finally, the sheets are put in order, bound together, and a cover is attached.
A Book is Made!
A little more than two years after starting work on the book, we get our first finished copy of Egg.
From School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—Jenkins and Page present a collection of facts about animals and their eggs. The layout is divided into spreads that present a different topic ("Where should I lay my eggs?" "Egg Packaging") in an introductory paragraph. That's followed by several examples ("Incubation" describes the male emperor penguin, which keeps eggs warm in a brood pouch), accompanied by beautiful illustrations rendered in Jenkins's trademark cut-and-torn paper collages, scattered across the page, leaving the copious amount of white space characteristic of this team's style. Some cases tend toward the grotesque (readers learn that the spider wasp stings a spider, lays her eggs on its body, and leaves it as food for her hatchlings), but all are presented in a purely scientific, factual tone. A diagram at the beginning of the book gives readers a look at the actual sizes of different eggs (a tarantula's, a leopard frog's, a scorpion fish's). The work concludes with cross-sectional diagrams of chicken and alligator eggs, showing the interior at different stages of development. There's also a list of very brief facts about each of the animals pictured. VERDICT Like Jenkins and Page's other works, this delightful purchase combines big, bold illustrations with intriguing science. A solid addition to the 590s.—Jill Ratzan, I. L. Peretz Community Jewish School, Somerset, NJ
"Appealing, accessible, and accurate, this is another admirable creation."
"Like Jenkins and Page's other works, this delightful purchase combines big, bold illustrations with intriguing science.
—School Library Journal
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Top Customer Reviews
Pros: This husband-and-wife team may be my favorite nonfiction author and illustrator. They have a real knack for finding fascinating facts about the animal world and presenting them in a way that sustains interest throughout the book. And the illustrations are phenomenal. It’s almost incomprehensible how Steve Jenkins is able to get the level of detail into each picture using cut and torn paper. Check out “A Look Inside How This Book Was Made” on Amazon and the short video on Jenkins’ webpage (http://www.stevejenkinsbooks.com/making_books.html) to learn more about his artistic process.
Cons: Reading this book right before breakfast kind of put me off my scrambled eggs.
This book is a visual, high quality exploration of all things eggs! It is very informative, great for parents and kids alike. It is not a storybook, but instead a fun, educational read! This would be a great addition to a teacher’s classroom or school library! Read more at www.diapers-and-daydreams.com
This book is JAM packed with all you could know about eggs and is written in a easy to read format. I will definitely get this book for my 4th grade classroom. This book includes many great illustrations and a few sentence caption next to each one. There is information on egg eaters, numbers of eggs laid, places to lay eggs, size of eggs, egg protection, incubation, etc. Did you know that-
"A mother splash tetra (fish) leaps form the water and attaches her eggs to an overhanging leaf. The father remains nearby and frequently splashes the eggs to keep them moist."
"A female emu lays her eggs - about a dozen of them - and her male partner steps in to care for them...He will not eat or drink for the eight weeks it takes the eggs to hatch."
This book is loaded with interesting facts- everything you could know about eggs.