Monday, May 23, 2011

Nonfiction Monday - Eggs

The eNature blog had an interesting post last week entitled Why Do Bird Eggs Vary In Shape and Color?. That and a trip to the lake to watch the baby goslings got me thinking about egg books.
Eggs, written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Emma Stevenson, is a gorgeous look at these extraordinary vehicles of early life. The book begins:
It's a bobbing boat.
It's a private pond.
It's a room with no view.
It's walls to break through.
It's breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
It's an egg.
It goes on to discuss how all animals need to make more of their own kinds, and that while some animals give birth to live young, many animals lay eggs instead. Eggs are described as special worlds that provide everything a developing embryo needs to grow, from food and drink to oxygen. But embryos need more than this to survive. They need a hospitable climate, meaning they must not freeze of overheat. Singer goes on to describe the texture, shape, size and color of eggs. Readers learn about how many eggs different species lay, how they're protected by parents, nests, or both, and how they hatch. Emma Stevenson makes her debut as a picture book illustrator with this book and it is a beautiful first effort. The gouache paintings are finely detailed and offer a visual treat to accompany the text.

The book ends with a extensive series of notes, including information on protecting eggs, a glossary, source notes and wildlife organizations. A comprehensive index is also included.

I learned several new facts about eggs while reading this book. Here are a few of them.
  • Bird eggshells are always hard, but their texture varies? Some eggs feel soapy, while some are powdery.
  • A flying fish's eggs have long threads to catch on to seaweed so they won't float into dangerous waters?
  • A termite queen may lay as many as a billion eggs in her lifetime?
Overall, this is an informative and thoroughly engaging book. I highly recommend it.

Book: Eggs
Author: Marilyn Singer
Illustrator: Emma Stevenson
Publisher: Holiday House
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 32 pages
Grades: 3-8
ISBN: 978-0-8234-1727-8
Source of Book: Personal copy purchased from a local independent bookstore.

If you are interested in some other books about eggs, check out my thematic book list on spring life that focused on eggs and life cycles.

This review was written for Nonfiction Monday. Head on over to Great Kid Books and check out all the great posts highlighting nonfiction this week.


  1. This sounds fascinating! I'll look for it.

  2. I have a weakness for bird books. Thanks for pointing me at this one. It looks gorgeous!