cover image Egg


Kevin Henkes. Greenwillow, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-240872-3

Four eggs: pink, yellow, blue, and green. Three hatch, and out come pink, yellow, and blue chicks who promptly depart. Why isn’t the green egg hatching? The birds return, and after some persistent pecking, an alligator pops out. It isn’t what the birds were expecting, but a friendship quickly blossoms. Henkes’s (Waiting) gentle story isn’t just about appreciating difference—it’s also about the craft of storytelling. Throughout, he divides the action into square panels that offer a visceral sense of how an author wields mood, rhythm, and pacing, as well as sets up a joke: in the opening pages, four-panel sequences showcase each individual, unhatched egg (“egg/ egg/ egg/ egg”), leading to surprises and smiles when things start to happen (“crack/ crack/ crack/ egg”). Thickly outlined in brown, Henkes’s animals exude sweetness and innocence, and a quietly surreal ending, which sees the setting sun morph into an egg and then an orange bird, subtly emphasizes the anything-is-possible potential of storytelling. In many ways, it’s a story with a writer’s workshop folded into it—and it offers terrific encouragement for readers to embark on their own narrative experiments. Ages 4–8. [em](Jan.) [/em]