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First the Egg (Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book (Awards)) Hardcover – Picture Book, 4 September 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 123 ratings

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Product description


“In another nimble page-turner, Seeger (Black? White! Day? Night!) toys with die-cuts and strategically paired words. She introduces a chicken-or-egg dilemma on her book's cover, picturing a plump white egg in a golden-brown nest. Remove the die-cut dust jacket, and a hen appears on the glossy inner cover. The eggshell, thickly brushed in bluish-white and cream, also serves as the chicken's feathers. This "first/then" pattern is repeated ("First the egg/ then the chicken./ First the tadpole/ then the frog"), with a die-cut on every other page. By flipping a page, readers see the cutout in two contexts. For instance, when an ovoid shape is superimposed on a white ground, it's an egg; on a yolk-yellow ground, it's the body of a baby chick. Seeger lines up the recto and verso of every sheet, maintaining a casual mood with generous swabs of grassy greens, sky blues and oxide yellows on canvas. Given the exuberant imagery, the occasional cutout (like the fingernail-size seed of a blowsy peony-pink flower) looks none too impressive. But if minuscule die-cuts seem barely worth the trouble, they do imply the potential in humble sources. Seeger's clever conclusion brings all the elements together in an outdoor scene that returns readers to the opening: "First the paint/ then the picture… / First the chicken/ then the egg!" Ages 2-6. (Sept.)” ―Publishers Weekly

“A deceptively simple, decidedly playful sequence of statements invites readers to ponder, what comes first: the chicken or the egg? Carefully choreographed page turns and die-cuts focus on the process of change and becoming, so "First" sits alone on a yellow background, facing "the EGG"--an egg-shaped die-cut revealing a white egg against an orange-and-brown background. Turn the page, and "then" appears, the egg-shaped die-cut now forming the yellow body of a chick emerging from the shell, facing "the CHICKEN"--the white hen whose body gave color to the previous spread's egg. Tadpole and frog, seed and flower, caterpillar and butterfly all receive the same treatment, then word and story, paint and picture bring all the disparate elements together, nature being the catalyst for art. Seeger's vibrant, textured oil-on-canvas illustrations contain a wealth of subtlety, allowing the die-cuts to reveal cunning surprises with each turn of the page. Children and adults alike will delight in flipping the sturdy pages back and forth to recreate the transformations over and over again. Another perfectly pitched triumph from an emerging master of the concept book. (Picture book. 2-6)” ―Kirkus Reviews Starred Review

About the Author

Laura Vaccaro Seeger has been called "the queen of the concept book by The Horn Book and is the winner of many awards including two Caldecott Honors, two Geisel Honors, and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. Her books include The First Egg, One Boy, Green, and the Dog and Bear series.

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Product details

  • Item Weight : 304 g
  • Hardcover : 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1596432721
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1596432727
  • Dimensions : 21.49 x 0.99 x 22.45 cm
  • Publisher : Roaring Brook Press; First edition (4 September 2007)
  • Reading level : 2 - 6 years
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 123 ratings

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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Reviewed in France on 26 February 2018
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5.0 out of 5 stars 素敵な絵本、ただし破られやすい
Reviewed in Japan on 6 February 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars 3歳くらいから、お子さまにおすすめです。
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5.0 out of 5 stars たまご、にわとり、どっちが先なの?
Reviewed in Japan on 1 July 2013
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Kile Law
5.0 out of 5 stars Favorite Author of a 4 Year Old
Reviewed in the United States on 11 June 2019
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