cover image The Easter Egg Farm

The Easter Egg Farm

Mary Jane Auch. Holiday House, $17.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-0917-4

Despite her yellow feathers, the personable Pauline is a hen of a different color--a sensitive fowl unable to ``concentrate in all the confusion'' of the henhouse. Her eggs, when they do appear, are of assorted vivid designs and colors, influenced by the objects she has just seen. Mrs. Pennywort, the farm's owner, senses an Eastertime gold mine and begins ``taking Pauline on field trips for inspiration.'' (At the museum, Pauline's Mona Lisa egg is a rare treasure.) Nature takes its course, however, and soon kaleidoscopic chicks emerge from the shells. In time Pauline's progeny produce their own coveted eggs, and mother enjoys a well-earned, colorful retirement. Judging from her energetic, tongue-in-cheek text, Auch has adroitly mastered the leap from middle-grade novels to picture books. Her rib-tickling illustrations feature a gangly, Modigliani-necked Mrs. Pennywort, (over)dressed to the teeth; an eminently expressive Pauline; and of course, those spectacular ovoids. One witty scene follows another--Pauline on point watching the ballet (more inspiration), beside a rhinestone-dripping Mrs. P.; the hapless lady desperately trying to glue cracked eggs back together. Eggs-actly right. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)