The front of this handsome paper-over-board volume poses an intriguing query: ``A dozen eggs. What will they be? Unfold each page and you will see!'' In Wood and Stilwell's luxuriantly illustrated fold-out book, exotic eggs sit in their habitats, waiting to hatch under the reader's fingers. When youngsters pull a page, an egg ``cracks'' open to reveal a mother animal with her babies: a Nile crocodile, peacock butterfly, spiny anteater, duck-billed platypus or dogfish shark. (The 12th egg harbors an unexpected late arrival from 65 million years ago.) Efficient, accordion-style folds allow hidden surprises on both sides of the page. Richly detailed borders surrounding each egg vignette provide visual clues while the text on opposite pages offers factual information. The final ``How big?'' section will help readers understand the relative size of the animals and their eggs. Rendered in a gentle palette, Stilwell's finely textured artwork invites repeated encounters with this ingeniously executed, copiously informative book. Ages 3-8. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-- The couplet on the cover--``A dozen eggs. What will they be?/ Unfold each page and you will see!''--sets up the guessing game aspect of this book. Following clues to learn the identity of the animal that hatches from each egg (ostrich, frog, Nile crocodile, platypus, puss moth and peacock butterfly, kingfisher, corn snake, spiny anteater, shark, green turtle, and hermit hummingbird), readers are directed to open the fold on the facing page. The effect is one of cracking open the egg. Each page of text and the folded page are bordered with additional visual clues. All of this suggests a book with high appeal. Unfortunately, it is riddled with confusing and misleading information, as well as some errors. The ostrich, for example, is depicted with three toes; it has two. The text states that the bird feeds on insects and berries; the fruit pictured looks like a small pome. Three eggs are shown; this does not represent the size of the typical ostrich clutch. When the page is unfolded, the illustration shows an adult ostrich and two chicks hatching from smaller eggs. Similar problems occur for almost every entry. Finally, the information is presented in a random format from egg to egg. Readers get a smattering of facts, but there is no consistent pattern (physical description, food, habitat, etc.) to foster the development of science concepts. Patricia Lauber's What's Hatching Out of That Egg? (Crown, 1991) remains the best choice for introducing the variety of egg-laying animals. --Carolyn Angus, The Claremont Graduate School, CA
Here is a lavish puzzle book on an intriguing aspect of science: eggs and the creatures that hatch from them--birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects, and even dinosaurs. Each double-page spread features one type of egg, with clues and questions printed in the shape of an egg on one page and a clever foldout colored drawing that provides the answers on the other. Borders consisting of small colored drawings detailing parts of the egg's creature or its habitat provide stimulating, but often difficult, clues. Although the book looks like a picture book for young children, the vocabulary and science background go beyond the capabilities of most first- and second-graders. With or without the border drawings, few children could identify the peacock butterfly, corn snake, or spiny anteater. The design of the answer page is a visual delight, with a large and colorful nature drawing in the center. Unfortunately, too much scattered information makes this a frustrating experience for the reader rather than a cohesive and instructive one. Still, the concept of eggs and the fascinating examples that crack open on these pages make this a good browsing choice. The final page lists the 12 eggs included from smallest to largest--a handy reference guide.