cover image TWO EGGS, PLEASE


Sarah Weeks, , illus. by Betsy Lewin. . S&S/Atheneum, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-83196-6

In this witty and wise book "two eggs," served in diverse ways, become a metaphor for how much individuals have in common, no matter what their tastes. Late one night in a diner, a slender orange fox awaits her customers. In the opening wordless spread, readers observe the first customer arriving in his yellow taxi. In the next, the rhino cabbie orders ("Two eggs please. Sunny-side up"), followed by a rat musician carrying a double bass and sporting a tux ("Two eggs, please. Over easy"). The long counter fills up: a stork in green scrubs prefers "Scrambled," and a green alligator with a pierced nose and his pet boa constrictor orders for both—"Poached. My friend here would like a couple of raw ones." Although the customers do not chat, they steal glances at each other. Thought bubbles reveal their shared observation: "Different." This motif repeats as the ursine chef holds up a white and a brown egg in one paw ("Different"), then cracks them into a dish ("The same"). When the waitress calls, "Two eggs coming up!", she addresses everyone in the place. Yet in the closing spread, the customers eat their two eggs in peace, side by side. Readers must reach their own understanding. Weeks (Mrs. McNosh Hangs Up Her Wash) uses repetitive but not monotonous language; Lewin works in the loose lines of her Click, Clack, Moo and reinforces the main point in expressive watercolors. Even the typefaces, which change with each customer, call attention to the coexistence of individuality and community. At this city diner, readers of all persuasions get food for thought. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)