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Author: Henkes, Kevin
Three little birds crack their way out of eggs and fly away, leaving one egg sitting all alone until the three chicks come back and discover a friendly baby alligator has finally hatched.
Kirkus Reviews (+) (10/01/16)
School Library Journal (+) (12/01/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (01/17)
The Hornbook (+) (00/01/17)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 10/01/2016 With characteristic understatement, Henkes explores tenderness, acceptance, and love in this deceptively simple story. The cover depicts three birds gathered around a green egg, expressions of devotion on their faces. The first illustration shows four eggs, pastel-colored to match the birds on the front, looking as sweet as a handful of Jordan almonds. Three of the eggs soon hatch, the birds pop out, and then they leave to test their wings. The birds return, concerned about the green egg, and then help to peck it open. They are surprised and frightened when an alligator emerges! When the birds depart, the alligator is lonely, but the birds eventually overcome their fear and return. Rendered in brown ink and a soft, limited palette of watercolors, Henkes’ illustrations provide depth and a meaningful sense of the passage of time, thanks to clever page layouts and visual hints. In the end, a new color is introduced, perhaps signaling another potential friend on the horizon. The open-ended conclusion invites readers to continue the story themselves. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Henkes’ many fans will be eagerly waiting for this one, so stock up. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 12/01/2016 PreS-Gr 1—Four eggs: pink, yellow, blue, and green. Three eggs crack: pink; yellow, blue, but not green. Three surprises: a pink chick, a yellow chick, and a blue chick hatch. Three fly away: pink, yellow, blue chicks; green egg stays put, waiting and waiting and waiting. Three friends return to listen to the green egg. They peck (and peck peck peck and peck some more) until the crack reveals a surprise: a green crocodile. Frightened fledglings fly away, leaving the small green reptile "alone," "sad," "lonely," and "miserable." That is, until the birds return and they all become "friends," and together the four go off into the sun to start a new egg-venture. Geometric patterns repeat, multiply, retreat, reappear. Each cream-colored page is framed with a brown border. Thinner lines sometimes create smaller frames within the larger ones, suggesting the passage of time, movement, and changing emotions. In the final sequence, the sun toward which the birds and croc are heading morphs into another egg: "The end… maybe." Fans of Henkes will delight in his use of line, simple forms, and a gentle palette, all of which clearly portray feelings, depict action, and suggest character. The concise text and straightforward illustrations, however, belie a more complicated tale. Is it simply a story of waiting—perhaps one of friendship? Or does it suggest the cyclical nature of young choosing their actions and flying out into the world? VERDICT This is a book that readers will want to pore over and talk about and read again and again.—Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 01/01/2017 Four eggs wait to hatch, but their destinies differ. Neatly quadrisected pages show the emerging of little birds from the blue, the pink, and the yellow egg, but the green egg just waits, unhatched. Eventually out pops a little baby alligator (“surprise!”), and the startled birdies fly away. Soon, though, the birds return to cheer the lonely little ’gator and a friendship foursome is formed. We’ve seen the gator-egg mixup before in books, but not for audiences so young, and it’s executed with gentle mirth and an invitingly minimal text. The art is Henkes at his most tidy and restrained; thick brown lines and soft brushy highlighting grounds the Eastery palette, and the precise divisions of the pages (the array expanding to emphasize repetition in some parts of the story) and simple figures would make for an easy translation to flannelboard. There’s some stealthy pushing of the visual narrative envelope for youngsters here, but mostly they’ll just appreciate it as a tale of adorable little birds finding an unexpected sibling. DS - Copyright 2017 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.