Book Review: Egg, Kevin Henkes

Book Review: Egg, Kevin Henkes

Board Book: Egg, Kevin Henkes

Kevin Henkes, award winning Caldecott artist, created a book with a perfect story structure. The Egg has 15 words used in repetition to enhance story tension and warm watercolor panels in a graphic novel layout for toddlers and preschoolers. This book has it all: a surprise twist, building emotional drama, and a happy ending. Also, the book includes an epilogue with a one word cliffhanger ending worthy of a marching lemming.

Readers are immediately drawn into the story of a single egg before, during and after hatching a _____ (spoiler alert)!

Egg packs a lot of punch in a small space.  The words range from onomatopoeia “crack” to a vocabulary building 4 syllable “miserable.” Since repeat readings will be in demand by discerning audiences, vary the cadence and tone when reading the pages that use the same word over and over again. For example, try reading the “waiting” page by increasing volume and speed with each repetition. In the same way, read the “peck” page in a 3/4 or waltz rhythm.

The title and soft pastels of this book may lead a few into pigeon-holing this selection into spring only read-alouds, along with the obligatory bunnies and flowers.  However, the enduring theme of friendship in the book will make it a favorite for repeat re-readings. In addition, the sturdy board book edition makes the Egg accessible to the youngest page turners.

The Egg is sure to be a family favorite and seasonal children’s classic for spring and all year round.

Book Review: Egg, Kevin Henkes

Also see

Booklist: Spring Books for Shared Reading with Children

Booklist: Bunny Books for Shared Reading with Children

Author Spotlight: Sandra Boynton!

Author Spotlight: Sandra Boynton

April 3, Happy Birthday, Sandra Boynton!


Sandra Boynton’s board books were some of the first books my boys looked at, teethed on, played with, and listened to during shared reading times as babies and toddlers; and my granddaughters are carrying on the tradition. Her books are engaging, whimsical, and clever — a delight for children and their grown-ups.


Before Reading: Set the Stage

Hold your baby on your lap when your baby is calm; get cozy and cuddly so your baby can see the pictures. Remember proximity is important during shared reading it fosters a positive experience.  


During Reading: Capture Interest

Engage your baby’s attention, if it looks like your baby’s attention is drifting — tap on the book with your finger and comment on the words and pictures. Also, encourage your toddler to help you turn the board book’s pages for simple engagement. Boynton’s creatures have expressive faces, try to copy those faces and adjust your voice to show the emotion.


After Reading: Encourage Play

Board books are sturdy.  Let your baby hold and manipulate the pages, in order to get used to the open/shut motion of the pages. Extend that practice to other objects with hinges, such as old CD/DVD cases, to further exercise their hand-eye coordination.


Five Favorite Sandra Boynton Books


Doggies (Boynton on Board)

All kinds of doggies, and just when you think you know what to expect there’s an amazing plot twist — surprise!


The Going to Bed Book

All the animals on the ark get ready for bed and so should the readers. A lovely way to review common bedtime routines.


Barnyard Dance

Classic board book fun for everyone. Encourage  your toddler to move around like the animals.

Moo Baa La La La

Another classic baby board book. Have fun making all of the animal noises and get your child to do the same.

Fuzzy, Fuzzy, Fuzzy!

The cute critters of Boynton plus a variety of textures to feel on the pages make this book extra interactive for the littlest ones. Also, this is a Pennsylvania Center for the Book recommendation for family literacy books.

OK, I fibbed, have to include Blue Hat, Green Hat because the turkey is too funny. I always cheer for the underdog, even when he is a turkey. I can read this book a dozen times in a row (yup, I have) and still chuckle in the right spots.

If you like this post you will like

Booklist LOL: Books to Laugh Out Loud with Your Children

April 3, Happy Birthday, Sandra Boynton!

To find out more about author & illustrator Sandra Boynton check out her website

Share a birthday greeting (but skip the monsters) via Twitter @SandyBoynton


Booklist: LOL Books to Laugh Out Loud with Your Children

Booklist: LOL Books to Laugh Out Loud with Your Children

The day before I went to see the grandgirls, I was in the bookstore and saw a picture book with a funny cover that was on sale. Of course, I just had to buy it!

It was one of the best things I have ever bought in my life.  I was on the second or third re-read of Mother Bruce with granddaughter #1 , who is currently age 2, when my son sat down near us.  He chuckled along, then laughed out loud when we got to the page “He liked to support local business, you see.” My daughter in-law came into the room when we got to the section “Bruce was very stern and said things like ‘Go away!’ And ‘I am not your mother!’ And also ‘I liked you better when you were eggs’” and she blurted out “What are you reading?” with the most incredulous look on her face that my son and I broke out in chuckles; context is everything. Granddaugher #1, of course, was not impressed that there was an interruption to her story time.  That weekend we read Mother Bruce at least a half dozen more times. Since then, my husband has taken the book into work to show his colleague who also has grandchildren, who also loved it. Spread the joy, spread the laughter!

Laughing out loud with your kids is a good thing. Research shows that laughter and humor connects with cognitive and language development as well as positive social/emotional growth.  

In order to get a joke or see something as humorous, a person has to have an understanding of cause and effect. More complicated forms of humor require abstract thinking with an ability to use symbols or substitutions of one thing for another or knowing when one thing does not belong within a set (as the old Sesame Street song goes “one of these things is not like the other…). Laughter is a solid way of knowing that your child has a growing awareness of situations around them and can perform simple analysis by categorizing a scenario as funny. So, reading and laughing with your child is time to be enjoyed and encouraged.

Before Shared Reading

When you introduce the book, note the title, author, illustrator, and say that this should be a fun story or funny book. Comment on any cover art that gives clues on story plot or what your child might find funny.

During Shared Reading

Point out plot points, phrases, or illustrations that provide humor clues by noting that something is silly or funny. Note expressions on characters’ faces that show how they feel and ask your child to describe those feelings.

After Shared Reading

Ask your child what they thought was the funniest parts of the story or pictures and what makes those pieces funny. During re-reads build vocabulary by labeling those funny parts as silly, ridiculous, quirky, witty, amusing or droll as alternative words for funny. For older children try some symbolic substitution, would they still think the scene was funny if it happened to them.


Booklist: LOL Laugh Out Loud Books for Infants and Toddlers

Blue Hat, Green Hat

Words and Pictures by Sandra Boynton

Board Book Ages Infants & Toddlers

Turkey makes this introduction to colors and getting dressed an adventure with his silly antics. Also, purple socks!

Don’t Let Pigeon Drive the Bus

Words and Pictures by Mo Willems

Picture Book, First in a Series Ages 2 – 6

Caldecott Honor Book

Pigeon tries to beg and whine his way with the reader, but the bus driver said, “Don’t let Pigeon Drive the Bus!” Son #3 adored Pigeon (perhaps because they were so alike?) Will be a family favorite! Also see Mo Willems’ Knuffle Bunny trilogy.

For more LOL Books for infants and toddlers see Author Spotlight: Sandra Boynton

Booklist: LOL Laugh Out Loud Picture Books for Shared Reading with Children

Mother Bruce

Words and Pictures by Ryan T. Higgins

Picture Book Ages 4 – 8

E. B. White Read Aloud Winner and Ezra Jack Keats Book Award, New Illustration Honor

Bruce, a solitary and grumpy bear, is faced with hard work and challenging choices when a case of mistaken identity turns his fancy breakfast into gosling fosterlings. What’s a bear to do when his geese won’t migrate?

Bob, Not Bob “To Be Read as Though You Have the Worst Cold Ever”

Words by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick

Pictures by Matt Cordell

Picture Book Ages 4 – 8

We’ve all been there, when you have a cold you sound like a muppet. This books plays on  the frustration of trying to pronounce your words correctly with a stuffy nose, but it’s all ok when you have a Bob (pet dog) and a not Bob (mom) to help you when you feel sick. Remember as the cover states this book is “to be read as though you have the worst cold ever.”

I am Not a Chair

Words and Pictures by Ross Burach

Picture Book, Ages 4 – 8

A twist on the typical first day of school story, here is Giraffe’s first day in the jungle.  Why does everyone think he’s a chair? How is Giraffe going to clear up this confusion?

Muddle and Mo

Words and Pictures by Nikki Slade Robinson

Picture Book Ages 4 – 8

Muddle the duck and Mo the goat are both friends.  Mo helps Muddle figure out their differences when Muddle doesn’t understand that Mo is not a duck too.

Guess Again

Words by Mac Barnett, Pictures by Adam Rex

Picture Book Ages 4 – 8

Expect the unexpected, this is not your typical guessing game. Each rhyming riddle sets the reader to guess the answer, but the illustrations provide a misleading clue to a totally random and clever reveal.

Is Everyone Ready for Fun

Words and Pictures by Jan Thomas

Picture Book Ages 3 – 8

Three cows invade chicken’s sofa with jumping, dancing and wiggling.  Kids will want to join the cows in their fun and pretend to be cows too,  while the grown-up reader came sympathize and give voice to the exasperated chicken.; an easy book to dramatize while reading.

That’s Not a Hippopotamus

Words by Juliette MacIver

Pictures by Sarah Davis

Picture Books Ages 4 – 8

A class field trips gets turned upside down, when the hippopotamus goes missing.

Booklist: LOL Laugh and Read Aloud Chapter Books for Elementary and Middle Schoolers

Fortunately the Milk

Neil Gaiman

Similar to the escalating hilarity found in Dr Seuss’ And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street, this story builds as a dad explains to his kids in great zany detail, why it took him so long to fetch some milk for the breakfast cereal. The ultimate book to showcase “Dad Humor” with this dad’s improbable adventures.

8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel + 1 Dog = Chaos

Vivian Vande Velde

Twitch the squirrel get chased into the school by Cuddles the principal’s dog, now the school pets are on a rescue mission to save Twitch.

I, Funny: A Middle School Story

James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

Part 1 of a Series

Jamie Grimm is on a quest to become a comedian and entering The Planet’s Funniest Kid Comic is a step towards his goal; but his journey is filled with both comedy and drama, because hey, this is a middle school story.

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

The world is suppose to end on Saturday, but where is the Antichrist? A bookish angel and a demon with car issues team up to save the planet.

The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure

William Goldman

The title says it all and the 1987 PG movie adaptation is a rare gem since it is just as good maybe even better than the book, both are classics.


Terry Pratchett

Mort, slightly inept but with a good heart, becomes the apprentice to Death, yes, that Death, the one with the horse and scythe. A great introduction to the madcap and marvelous Discworld series.


For other fun reads, also see

Booklist: Fun Summer Reads – for grown-ups and young adults

Booklist: Beach Reads for Kids, Shared Reading with Children

Recommend your favorite LOL Laugh Out Loud funny books here