What Do We Do All Day? (one of my favorite websites for book recommendations), I saw The Enormous Egg. I had completely forgotten about it, but I knew my family had, at least at one time, owned a copy of it. I could distinctly picture the book's spine tucked in among others on one of our bookshelves. My memory did not fail me. When we were at my parents' house over Christmas, I did a quick glance-over and almost immediately located the yellow spine with the blue lettering.
Despite my near-perfect memory of the book's appearance, I remembered next to nothing about the story. And yet, I had a feeling my boys would like it. I mean, a dinosaur coming out of a chicken's egg? How could I go wrong?
Nate Twitchell lives on a farm in small town Freedom, New Hampshire. His life is pretty ordinary until one day when one of the hens lays the most gigantic (excuse me, I mean, enormous) egg he has ever seen. It takes weeks for it to hatch, and Nate has just about given up on it when out comes a baby Triceratops. Nate and his family are shocked, and Dr. Zeimer, a paleontologist who happens to be visiting Freedom over the summer, is ecstatic. The dinosaur is a fascinating novelty for a few weeks, but once he hits 897 pounds (with no end to his growth in sight), Nate and Dr. Zeimer know they're going to have to think of another solution...and fast.
This is, to date, the fastest we've read a chapter book. And it's because both Aaron and Maxwell could not get enough of it. They asked to read it every day, and we would often read several chapters at a time. Our one rough patch came after Nate and Dr. Zeimer move Uncle Beazley (that's the dinosaur's name) to Washington D.C. After an unfortunate incident where Uncle Beazley knocks over a truck, the police and then the government find out that the National Museum is keeping a living, breathing dinosaur. This leads to Senator Granderson getting involved and submitting a bill which would outlaw the keeping of any living dinosaur in America. All of the political talk was really confusing (and boring) to the boys. It did give us a chance to talk about how senators are elected and how they put forth the voice of the people and that if they don't do what most of the people want, then they won't get voted for again. But judging from Aaron's brief summary to Mike that Senator Granderson was going to "get thrown into the zoo if he hurt Uncle Beazley," I...don't think he got it.
For my part, I was highly entertained by the fact that there is a dinosaur that is living in Washington D.C., and the government is trying to kill it. And also that no one, save for a few nerdy paleontologists, seem to think this is a big deal. (While the dinosaur is still in Freedom, NH, he gets some attention, but after that, not a whole lot). I just am trying to picture a dinosaur hatching out of an egg in real life and it not being international news and a great source of publicity and pride for the United States. Maybe having three boys who are obsessed with dinosaurs just makes me think a living dinosaur would be kind of amazing. I also was kind of amused that the government was so worried about the cost of keeping this dinosaur and not wanting to waste the tax payer's precious dollars (hello, national debt of $16 trillion!) and also that the government was so casually talked about in such a negative light.
The story is told in first person from Nate's point of view. I didn't give much thought to this until Aaron said, "Nate's telling the story, right?" Then I realized that since most picture books aren't written in first person, this was one of Aaron's first exposures to this style of writing. Maybe that doesn't seem like anything worth mentioning, but I was happy that he noticed the difference.
While this story has a 1950's feel to it, I still think it's very relatable to the 2013 child, especially one that has an obsession with dinosaurs. Many of the dated references are cute and in some ways made me long for those years when a 12-year-old boy was slightly annoyed taking care of an egg because it was cutting in on his fishing time. This is a highly imaginative and very creative read that we all completely enjoyed.
I'm sharing this post at The Children's Bookshelf.