Monday, July 28, 2014
Two Speckled Eggs, written and illustrated by Jennifer K. Mann. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2014. $17.00 ages 4 and up
You know the scenario: a birthday party is on the horizon, and the birthday girl would rather not invite EVERY single girl in the class. Mom is adamant that if one is invited, they ALL get an invitation. So, Ginger invites Lyla, even though she would rather not. After all, Lyla is odd and a bit of an outcast.
As the party progresses the invitees would rather scuttle the party plans than abide by Ginger's directions. The tail for the donkey get stuck on the girls rather than the donkey. The egg in the egg and spoon race is ruined before the fun can even begin. Most have something to say about Ginger's favorite birthday cake, and refuse to eat it. Lyla Browning, who has been conspicuously absent from most of the activities while she investigates other more important distractions, loves the cake.
Ginger is discouraged by her friends' attitudes, and ends up in tears...until a ladybug lands on her nose! Lyla thinks it's funny, and so does Ginger. The presents are opened, the girls are off to other endeavors. The two are left alone with Lyla's present; it is the last ....and the very best! It's handmade, and holds two speckled eggs. When the rest of the girls have gone home, Ginger and Lyla discover mutual interests, and Ginger realizes it can be quite wonderful to have a friend who is independent, self-assured and giving.
Illustrations, done in pencil, gouache and digital collage assure that listeners take note of the story's characters, their demeanor, and their changing importance for the birthday girl. It's easy to see that a birthday party can be a bit of a challenge. This timeless story is a reminder that friends arrive in a variety of packages. It has a classic feel and is sure to inspire conversation for those who share it.