cover image P. Zonka Lays an Egg

P. Zonka Lays an Egg

Julie Paschkis. Peachtree, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-56145-819-6

All of the chickens on the farm are efficient, regular egg-layers: “Maud laid one egg every day. Dora laid an egg every other day. Nadine always laid exactly five eggs a week.” The only exception (other than Gloria, who “turned out to be a rooster”) is henhouse romantic P. Zonka. Why won’t she lay eggs? “Because of the pale mornings, the soft dark moss, the stripes on the crocuses, the orange cat with one blue eye, the shining center of the dandelion, the sky at midnight,” she rhapsodizes about her farmyard surroundings. When P. Zonka finally does lay an egg, it’s as extraordinary as its poetic creator (“There were patterns of sun yellow, grass green, tulip red. There were blues as bright as day and blues as dark as midnight”). Paschkis’s (Apple Cake) curling lines form floral patterns, chicken feathers, and rooster plumes, evoking the decorations on Ukrainian pysanky Easter eggs, which she describes in an endnote (and which give P. Zonka her name). A lyrical and lushly illustrated allegory about creativity and taking time to notice beauty. Ages 4–8. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Mar.)