Friday, January 23, 2009
picture book review: first the egg by laura vaccaro seeger
First the Egg exemplifies the reasons the ALA awards Caldecott honors on picture books for the pictures: pictures may tell stories more powerfully than words alone. The story is simple and succinct, but the pictures tell the story. This picture book is nonfiction, and it is informative, but its information more powerfully told through the pictures. The backdrop of the pages are paintings. Through the colors of these paintings and the cutouts of the pages, Seeger makes the connection between eggs and chickens, tadpoles and frogs, seem even more literal. The first page, for example shows a cutout of an egg. When the reader turns the page, it becomes clear the egg was part of the chicken, and the cutout now uses the yellow from the underneath page to form the body of the baby chicken. This theme of continuity and connectedness continues throughout the short book. The pictures in this story are sure to delight and amaze young readers, but the pictures and visual displays are cool enough to fascinate older readers who might want to understand how Seeger achieved the cutout effects. For older students, I would follow a reading of this book with a craft challenge for them to make their own cutout story.
Ratings: 3 stars (out of 4)
Challenges: 100+ Reading Challenge
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