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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Eggs, written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Emma Stevenson. Holiday House, Thomas Allen, 2008. $21.50 ages 8 and up

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."

Lest you think that all posts today are about birds, here's one that MIGHT be about birds! Well, birds do play a role in a book about eggs; after all, they lay them. But, as you know, they are not the only creatures of the world that do. So, here we have a packed with information book about the 'special world' of the egg. Some eggs are hard, some soft. Some feel soapy, slick or powdery. They come in many sizes and shapes, from the egg of a wasp that is too small to see to the ostrich egg which could hold nineteen chicken eggs. Some are shaped like ping pong balls, others have a conical shape. They come in all colors, from distinct to nondescript. When species produce their eggs, the numbers vary greatly. The albatross lays one egg every other year, while a termite queen over a period of fifty to one hundred years might lay as many as a billion eggs!

Eggs are vulnerable to predators and are protected in numerous and very creative ways. It is mind-boggling to think about the adaptations species have made to ensure their future generations. Some of the details shared here will be familiar; but, there is so much more to be learned in savoring this well-researched book. The illustrations provide visual clues to add to the narrative written. Fascinating and surprising, such is the world in which we live. Those creatures who lay eggs make it more so!

The back matter includes suggestions for protecting eggs, a glossary to help readers understand some terminology that might be unfamiliar, source notes and a bibliography, as well as a list of organizations that help to protect wildlife and an index. Reading this book might just encourage further study, or inspire a renewed wish to help where we can.

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