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The Odd Egg


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When all the eggs have hatched, only Duck's remains ...

About the Author

Emily Gravett is a graduate of Brighton University and the winner of the 2004 Macmillan Prize for Illustration. A former traveller, Emily has now settled in Brighton with her partner and their young daughter. Her first picture book, the inimitable Wolves was published by Macmillan in 2005 to great acclaim, winning the Kate Greenaway Medal and the Nestle Children's Book Prize Bronze Award. Emily has since written and illustrated four further picture books, Orange Pear Apple Bear, (shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal), Meerkat Mail, Monkey and Me and Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears.


PreS-K-This is the story of a drake who is feeling left out. "All the birds had laid an egg. All except for Duck." When he finds a huge, green-spotted egg, he loves it right away. Sitting high atop it-so high that he barely fits into the picture-he is subjected to the taunts of the egg layers: "Not pretty." "It'll never hatch!" "Ha ha!" Gravett uses narrow pages that gradually increase in size to reveal all of the other eggs hatching, from the smallest chick to the tallest flamingo. While the moms cuddle their new hatchlings, Duck waits-and waits. Leaning against the large egg, he knits up a storm until "Creak Crack, SNAP": out pops an enormous alligator, scaring all of the scoffing birds right off the page. The final, priceless illustration shows an adoring alligator marching-in four knitted slippers and a muffler-behind Duck, murmuring, "Mama." There are many aspects of the story that make it worth adding to the what-have-I-hatched collection. First, it's so simple that toddlers can enjoy it. Second, the layout is unique and well suited to the plot. Third, the illustrations are a joy to behold: funny, personable, and oh-so-eye-catching. The ecru background on every page is a nice touch, lending the book a little extra cachet. Kids will love cracking the pages of this exceptional story.-Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

An odd duck finds an odd egg in Gravett's (Meerkat Mail) economically told story. Envious of a quintet of various mother birds snuggling with their eggs, a male duck wants an ovoid bundle, too. From an undisclosed locale, he adopts a gigantic egg whose green spots match his head feathers. The other birds cackle with amusement; the bookish owl consults an "Egg Spotters' Guide" and looks askance at Duck's treasure. Gravett arranges the six eggs across a spread in ascending-size order. When each "creak cracks," layered, before-and-after specially cut flaplike pages reveal each successive baby greeting its mother with a "tweet" or a "honk." Ultimately only Duck's mystery egg remains. Using visual suspense and few words, Gravett depicts an alligator bursting from the shell, snapping its jaws and scattering the naysayers. There is mild ambiguity-not everyone is shown getting out of its way and feathers do fly-yet the gator seems amiable. A parting view shows it waddling after skinny Duck, saying "Mama," wearing a scarf Duck has knitted and booties that resemble a duck's webbed feet. A witty salute to both nature and nurture. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Full of wit and detail . . . if you're only going to buy one book for your two-year-old, make sure it is Emily Gravett's The Odd Egg. * Telegraph *
Egg stories do not come much better than Emily Gravett's The Odd Egg . . . exquisitely expressive. * The Times *
Gravett has an extraordinary ability to convey a world of expression with the simplest stroke of her brush . . . just exquisite. * Bookseller *
On no account cheat with this book! The surprise ending will delight again and again * Guardian *
A charming tale * Observer *
Another triumph for Gravett * Sunday Times *

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