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An Extraordinary Egg


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About the Author

Leo Lionni, an internationally known designer, illustrator, and graphic artist, was born in Holland and lived in Italy until he came to the United States in 1939. He was the recipient of the 1984 American Institute of Graphic Arts Gold Medal and was honored posthumously in 2007 with the Society of Illustrators' Lifetime Achievement Award. His picture books are distinguished by their enduring moral themes, graphic simplicity and brilliant use of collage, and include four Caldecott Honor Books: Inch by Inch, Frederick, Swimmy, and Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse. Hailed as "a master of the simple fable" by the Chicago Tribune, he died in 1999 at the age of 89.


K-Gr 3-A fable about friendship with a touch of mistaken identity. One day Jessica, an adventuresome young frog, rolls home a ``beautiful stone'' to show her two froggy friends. Marilyn, who knows ``everything about everything,'' states with absolute certainty that it's a chicken egg. So when an alligator hatches, the three frogs are surprised and delighted with how well their ``chicken'' can swim. When she saves Jessica from drowning in a tangle of weeds, the two become inseparable friends. One day, a bird lands to lead the alligator back to her mother; Jessica accepts this with equanimity. She is a heroine whose wonder at the world and loyalty to her friends rank her with such erstwhile heroes as Joyce's ``Bently'' and Dr. Seuss's ``Horton.'' But while those two stalwarts protect and cherish their eggs before they hatch, most of this story centers on the relationship that develops after the little alligator springs from its shell. Lionni's understated text perfectly complements his signature illustrations, which are a skillful combination of collage, crayon, and watercolors. An eggs-traordinary treat from a master storyteller.-Jane Marino, Scarsdale Public Library, NY

``On Pebble Island, there lived three frogs: Marilyn, August, and one who was always somewhere else.'' Like the amiable animals in Lionni's previous, inimitable fables, these anthropomorphized amphibians have a quiet but memorable adventure. In the spotlight is the roving frog, Jessica, who is ``full of wonder,'' and proclaims everything she finds--even common pebbles--``extraordinary.'' When she comes across a stone that is ``perfect, white like the snow and round like the full moon on a midsummer night,'' she lugs it home, whereupon Marilyn, ``who knew everything about everything,'' announces that it is a chicken egg. ``I was right! It is a chicken!'' she exclaims smugly when the egg hatches and a baby alligator emerges. Kids will giggle at the frogs' repeated references to the friendly newborn as ``the chicken.'' They'll be even more tickled when the frogs chuckle at the ``mother chicken'' who, finally reunited with her offspring, greets her ``sweet little alligator.'' ``What a silly thing to say!'' concludes the omniscient Marilyn. In his 40th book, Lionni is in typically fine form. Ages 3-7. (Apr.)

"An eggs-traordinary treat from a master storyteller." --School Library Journal (Starred Review)

"Just the thing to lighten up a picture-book hour." --Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review) "Kids will giggle at the frogs' repeated references to the friendly newborn as `the chicken.' They'll be even more tickled when the frogs chuckle at the `mother chicken' who, finally reunited with her offspring, greets her `sweet little alligator' . . . In his 40th book, Lionni is in typically fine form." --Publisher's Weekly

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