Is this your egg?

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Ella Kris (text) and Emma Cracknell (illustrations), Is this your egg?, State Library Queensland, December 2020, 32pp., RRP $24.95 (hbk), ISBN 9781922467065

Is this my egg? is one of the picture books produced by the State Library of Queensland for theFirst 5 Forever early literacy programme.  This book is set in a beach environment and tells the story of Henry the Hermit Crab who finds an egg and sets about trying to locate its parent. Each of the native Australian beach animals that Henry approaches explains that the features of their eggs do not match this orphaned egg.  Finally, the animals are shown with a brood of little infants which have replaced the eggs they had been tending.  And so, some simple facts about the animal world are seamlessly woven into the narrative.

One of the things I like about this book is recognition of Queensland’s indigenous populations by naming the animals for their local indigenous words. A glossary lists the animal names with English translation and pronunciation.  Another welcome feature is the repeated pattern of the narrative which supports reader comprehension of the story and aids independent reading practice.

The images of the animals are mostly realistic (except for their cartoon style, wide eyed faces) – thus providing more information about their physical features. Muted, natural colours of the background beach environment evoke a sense of an unspoiled beach and provide a backdrop against which the animal images stand out.

Is this my egg? has an engaging storyline. It also raises ideas about care and responsibility – without being didactic – and promotes vocabulary development by introducing some lesser-known coastal animal species. It’s a terrific book for families to read with 4-6 year olds, or for teachers to use as a classroom resource.

Reviewed by Barbara Swartz

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