Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Who's Inside? What Will Hatch? by Jennifer Ward




Hatching from an egg is a popular way to come into the world. But eggs are different, very different, depending on what sort of creature laid them and where, and what sort of creature comes out of that egg.

Robins hatch from small oval eggs of a delightful hue, giving their name to the color--robin's egg blue.

Round, leathery eggs rest in the warm sand, hatching baby turtles racing to leave the land.

Crocodile eggs are leathery and wait in a pile, until babies hatch out with their snaggly smile.

Emperor penguin chicks hatch in a a spot that can't be beat: they break through their shells on their dad's warm feet.

Platypus babies hatch, neither scaly nor feathery, wiggling out of an egg that is little and leathery.

Jennifer Ward's brand-new nonfiction picture book, What Will Hatch? (Walker, 2013), is a delightful entry into the study of animal behavior, published just in time for that season celebrating the egg. Simple rhyming words, a couple of adjectives describing the egg, with the repeated refrain--"WHAT WILL HATCH?"-- followed by a page turn revealing the animal in question  will  tempt readers to chime in with each new clue. But artist Susie Ghahremeni offers another incentive to keep those pages turning--die-cut egg shapes on each right-hand page, cleverly concealed in the illustration, which offer clues to the mystery babies to follow. Ghahremeni's soft, watery blue-green backgrounds set off her characters, done up in an elegant and stylish muted palette, making nature study enticingly easy on the eyes for the early childhood group. Author Ward also provides an appendix with the life cycle of a chick and additional information on each of the seven featured species, from ostriches to frogs, with a bonus of two more animals, including the size of eggs and the number of hatchlings in the brood of each one.

Pair this one with Steve Jenkins' newest, My First Day (Houghton Mifflin, 2013), (see my recent review here) which features a fascinating variety of animals--feathered, furry, finny,  and fluked--and what they do on their first day of life.

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