Friday, April 15, 2011

Books: A Seed Is Sleepy, plus... An Egg is Quiet!

I've really been enjoying picture books lately, especially beautifully illustrated ones. I think I read them to my son just so that I can read them, lol. I'm so selfish!

The fact is, my son won't read them on his own and I don't blame him; at eight years old, they are not usually captivating enough for personal reading when he'd rather read Lego or Star Wars encyclopedic volumes or chapter books. And while this is where I would normally sigh, I've found that he's happy to enjoy these beautiful books as long as we sit and read them together! Yay for me ;-)  At least for the time being. Then I'll just have to read them for me  ;-)

At this time of year we have a bit of a book tradition: we take several spring, egg, and seed related books off our shelves or out from the library. Not an earth shattering idea, I know. It blows in with the spring air and everyone has the same idea!

However, there are a few books that we specifically read every year. Two of them are the topics of this, um getting long winded, post.

First, A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston and beautifully illustrated by Sylvia Long. Subtly packed with information the elegant pictures delight readers of all ages. The narrative begins "A seed is sleepy" and progresses with imaginative adjectives to "a seed is awake." It's just a very creative introduction or re-introduction to seeds and plants with a wonderful array of examples. I love the endpapers! At the beginning of the book, they are a double page layout of various seeds; at the end of the book, they are a double page layout of the plants they grow into. This book is very lovely and everyone should read it at least once!

The second book is what led us to the first book. An Egg Is Quiet by Dianna Hutts Aston and, of course, also beautifully illustrated by Sylvia Long. This gorgeous book prompted me to find more by this author/illustrator duo. So far it's just these two books, but Dianna Aston's website promises a third book (hopefully illstrated by Sylvia Long): A Butterfly is Patient (spring 2012).

Ok, back to An Egg Is Quiet!

Progressing from a quiet to noisy egg, this book travels the life cycle of an egg. Did you know eggs were colourful, shapely, clever, differently sized, artistic, and textured? Well, probably you did. But that's not the point! This elegant book is such an amazing introduction to eggs of all varieties with a splash of information to round out the experience. This includes a visual time line of three egg's developments: a chicken's, a salmon's, and a grasshopper's. And there are wonderful end papers here too! The first set is a collection of wonderful eggs (to scale I think) and the last set is a collection of the corresponding birds! It's fun to flip back and forth matching up the two. 

We are lucky here in Edmonton. Our Royal Alberta Museum has a wonderful display of stuffed birds found in Alberta. In fact we made a special foray into this section to check out those birds AND to check out the wonderful egg collection! I love the way the museum has designed the layout so that we can check out the local-Alberta found eggs as well as see samples of eggs from all around the world. They even have a section where they compare sizes beginning with a hummingbird egg and work up to an ostrich egg.

But if you are not so lucky as to either live here or have something similar, I have a link to the RAM's online egg exhibit for you!

Eggs: A Virtual Exhibition
From their welcome page... "Welcome to Eggs - A Virtual Exhibition, the closest you may ever get to seeing wild bird eggs without disturbing birds at the nest. This virtual exhibit showcases eggs of the world with a special emphasis on the eggs of Alberta. The Royal Alberta Museum hosts one of the most extensive egg collections in North America. We have an on-line field guide with over 300 egg images as well as information on egg biology and a touch of egg trivia. So put on your virtual helmet and we'll visit some nests!"

A lot of information is provided and some of it in a rather bland presentation. I'd start with the "Bird Families Menu" and click on the bird of interest. But have fun and look around  ;-)

This post has been linked up with...

Science Sunday



  1. I also LOVE picture books, particularly the beautifully illustrated ones :) Thankfully, my daughters also really enjoy them.

    I have read A Seed Is Sleepy before, I think, but I've not seen An Egg is Quiet. I need to search that one out!

  2. My son prefers "An Egg Is Quiet" to "A Seed Is Sleepy." If you feel like it, let us know which one you guys prefer ;-)

  3. Oh wow! Those are gorgeous pictures. I'm with you I love picture books, and will be sad when my kids think they've outgrown them.

  4. I know Ticia, but I've been thinking... I should take p a new hobby: picture book collecting ;-)

    And hey, good for future grandkids, if I get any ;-)


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