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Sunday, March 27, 2016

P. Zonka Lays an Egg, written and illustrated by Julie Paschkis. Peachtree, Fitzhenry & Whiteside.. 2015. $23.95 ages 3 and up

"Why doesn't P. Zonka
lay eggs?" asked Maud.
"Because she wanders
around the farmyard day
in and day out, staring
at flowers and gawking
at clouds," said Nadine.
"Oh tut-tut," clucked
"She's just a dreamer."

I was lucky enough to read this book in a Grade 1/2 class just before they left for their spring break on Thursday. It's my favorite thing to do these days - visit classrooms and share books that I love. Now, this is a class that loves books! Their teacher (my dear friend Val) reads to them every day, they talk about books all the time, and they love to read to each other. It's a dreamy class to visit. They are very appreciative and connected to what is happening on every page.

Since it took me a long time to get my hands on this book (thanks to Winston for sending it along to me) and I love it, I thought it would be a perfect start for our book  sharing. And, I was right! They were impressed with the color and lines on the cover and equally enamored of the beautiful designs on the endpapers. We talked about how lovely it would be to use Ms. Paschkis' designs as borders on book pages or art projects.

The story itself also held their interest. They thought it was pretty cool that P. Zonka is not exactly like all the other chickens on the farm, despite the fact that they look alike. All of the other chickens lay eggs, as they are expected to do. P. Zonka has never laid an egg. She is far too busy taking in all of the beauty that surrounds her. She has good reason:

"I will tell you
why," said P. Zonka.
"Because of the pale
mornings, the soft dark
moss, the stripes on the
crocuses, the orange cat
with one blue eye, the
shining center of a
dandelion, the sky
at midnight."

After listening to the other chickens and their pleas for her to lay an egg, P. Zonka sits down to try and lay the much wished-for egg. EUREKA! The kids were dazzled, and you will be, too.

As she explains in a final note, the art in this gorgeous book is inspired by pysanky, eggs decorated by many throughout the world. The book reads like a folktale, and the detailed colorful pages are directly related to the designs and color found in the traditional Ukrainian art form. 


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