The Odd Egg
by Emily Gravett (Author)
Emily Gravett has quickly become recognised as one of the most brilliant new picturebook talents in the UK. Wolves and Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears show her quirky originality, so a new book from Gravett comes laden with great expectations on the part of readers. The Odd Egg is a quieter work, and one aimed at a younger audience, more in line with her Orange Pear Apple Bear. Nevertheless, her huge talent shows inher obvious command of the possibilities of the picturebook as a form, and of her medium – here pencil drawings, lightly coloured, against a cream background on matt paper.
A well-crafted physical object this: the green cloth cover of the spine gives an attractively old-fashioned feel and the landscape format suits the story. The Odd Egg begins on the cover, of course: curiosity is aroused by the sight of a drake sitting propped against an enormous white egg with green spots. Then, on the opening endpages, we see Duck, in the lower left corner, reaching to a feather – a metaphor for a dream or an illusion? On the title page there is the huge green-spotted egg again, and turning the page, we are told that all the birds had laid an egg except for Duck. When Duck finds the enormous egg his dream has come true it seems, despite the scorn of the other birds. The excitement as the eggs begin to hatch is portrayed in cut-off pages, until all of the birds can embrace their young, except for the ever-optimistic Duck, who calmly sticks to his knitting. Eventually, there’s a creak and a crack and the egg hatches with a SNAP! And, on the closing endpages, we see proud Duck exiting right followed by his new baby, and giving his final ‘Quack’ on the back cover. And we’re not telling you any more about the baby here!
Very young readers will delight in The Odd Egg, but older readers of all ages will rejoice too in Duck’s positive attitude and calm belief in himself and his egg.