Subscribe to The Horn Book

Review of Egg

henkes_eggstar2 Egg
by Kevin Henkes; illus. by the author
Preschool    Greenwillow    40 pp.
1/17    978-0-06-240872-3    $17.99
Library ed.  978-0-06-240873-0    $18.89    g

In the latest offering from modern picture-book master Henkes (Waiting, rev. 9/15), we are introduced to four different eggs, each a different pastel color and each occupying its own separate quadrant of the page: “egg / egg / egg / egg.” The drama begins on the facing page — “crack / crack / crack / egg” — when three little chicks hatch, and the fourth egg…waits. The three hatchlings, concerned, gather ’round the egg and instigate a furious pecking campaign. Finally: “crack,” then “surprise!” What hatches from the fourth egg is not another chick. Will the other three reject the foundling (“alone / sad / lonely / miserable”), or embrace it? Henkes once again taps into the deepest emotions of preschoolers with the simplest of stories. This one contains a surfeit of humor despite the scarcity of text (there are just fifteen distinct words, though some repeat). Henkes manages to imbue his characters with heaps of personality and expression using just the slant of an eyebrow or the curve of a mouth (I particularly love team-leader pink chick assessing the unhatched egg, wings akimbo in concentration). 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. And the ending is as trippy and open-ended as that of any in our established post-modernist picture books — it’s just preschool-sized.

From the January/February 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Martha V. Parravano About Martha V. Parravano

Martha V. Parravano is book review editor of The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind