- Age Range: 2 - 6 years
- Grade Level: Preschool - 1
- Hardcover: 40 pages
- Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (January 25, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1416995447
- ISBN-13: 978-1416995449
- Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #303,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-With winsomely simple text and illustrations, this picture book is less a story than a convergence of fanciful possibilities. It begins with a large blue egg that's just beginning to crack: "An egg is not a baby bird." On the next page, the crack widens and an amorphous red face peeks out: "...but it will become one, except if...." When the small head becomes fully visible and reptilian, readers are led to believe, "it becomes a baby snake." But every time they think they know where they stand, another "except if" giddily overthrows their expectations. Reminiscent of favorites like Mike Lester's A Is for Salad (Putnam, 2000) and George Shannon's Tomorrow's Alphabet (Greenwillow, 1996), Except If is an entertaining, intriguing mental adventure.-Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Averbeck plays contrarian in this fun exercise in defying narrative assumption. An egg is not a baby bird, / but it will become one / except if—and here we see that the tiny red face emerging from the cracked egg is not, in fact, a bird—it becomes a baby snake. Page by page, the primary-colored pastels-and-watercolor illustrations tell a tale that looks to be headed one way until the page turn reveals another. It’s not actually a snake; it’s a lizard. (And the lizard looks as surprised as the reader.) The lizard’s fly-eating life ends when it grows into a dinosaur, and that dinosaur’s life ends, literally, when it turns into a fossil. It’s a surprising turn of events—our cute little protagonist is dead?—but Averbeck continues his run-on sentence undaunted, showing us how the fossil’s jaw creates a bare cliff that harbors a nest, which hatches an egg that will not become a baby bird . . . except if it does. It’s a concept that starts cleverly and then, almost sneakily, warms the heart. Preschool-Grade 1. --Daniel Kraus
Top customer reviews
This book is pure fun. The reader puts themselves into the author's hands, unable to predict where this book will take them. The fossil piece was one that I was happily surprised by, not expecting the book to head in that direction. Averbeck's use of spare language to great effect makes this a book that will read aloud well. Its straightforward text is the perfect foil to the twists of the story line.
Averbeck's illustrations are bright and bold. The thick black lines and flat color evoke children's coloring books, giving it immense child appeal.
Add this to any story time on dinosaurs or as the ideal ending book for any general story time. It's sure to be requested again and again. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
"An egg is not a baby bird, but will become one EXCEPT IF......
The children get to use their imagination...will it be a bird, a snake, a lizard or something else?
This seems like this would make a good, group story hour read for library tot groups to enjoy. Bright, bold illustrations and a story that should keep children guessing."