CM . . .
. Volume xxi Number 15 . . . . December 12, 2014
Édouard Manceau’s new book, Hatch, Little Egg, tells the story of an exciting event – the birth of a new little bird! Everyone is coming to see the hatching. They are coming on motorcycles, in cars, and on foot. They have their cameras ready as the little egg begins to crack, but then the eggshell reveals a huge surprise. The hatchling has decided to do things his way!
This vibrant and brightly coloured picture book for emergent readers is a treat for both the heart and the mind. Manceau describes the joyful anticipation of the reindeer, the rabbit, the monkey and others as they await the hatching. As the egg cracks, their faces mirror their eager anticipation, but then, they see a pig instead of a little bird. They are very disappointed. The little pig asks them, “Don’t you want to take my picture?” as they leave disappointed. The little bird takes off his pig disguise saying, “I did it my way!”
Karen Li’s vivid translation captures Manceau’s enthusiasm for his subject matter as well as his amusing, vivid and descriptive prose. The text is accessible for emergent readers because of its simple vocabulary and short sentences. Older readers will appreciate the whimsy of the text as well as the ironic view of celebrity culture.
Édouard Manceau, the author and illustrator, often works in paper collage to bring his animal characters to life. In this book, he uses intense colours in contrast with the stark white background to emphasize the importance of his characters’ reactions. The characters are all individuals. Many carry cameras to take pictures of the highly anticipated birth. Readers will definitely need to “read” the pictures as well as the text because there is a great deal of information about the characters shown in the illustrations.
Hatch, Little Egg will be a wonderful read-aloud for young children preparing for the birth of a sibling. Readers will discover that every new life should be celebrated. It will also inspire discussion about individuality, birth, celebrity culture, crowd mentality and media influence. Sometimes people can get caught up in the media frenzy about an event. They forget that all people are individuals – even if they are in the media spotlight!
Myra Junyk, a literacy advocate and author, lives in Toronto, ON.
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