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First the Egg Hardcover – Sep 4 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; 1 edition (Sept. 4 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596432721
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596432727
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 1 x 22 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #102,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Publishers Weekly
 
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.)
 
 
Kirkus Reviews Starred Review
 
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)
 
New York Times Children’s Books Bestseller List at #9

About the Author

Laura Vaccaro Seeger is a New York Times best-selling author and illustrator and the recipient of a 2008 Caldecott Honor, Theodor Seuss Geisel Honors for both 2009 and 2008, a 2007 New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award, and the 2007 Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for Best Picture Book. Her books include The Hidden Alphabet and Dog and Bear, among others.
 
Raised on Long Island, New York, Seeger began drawing at two years old and never stopped. For as long as she remembers, she wanted to write picture books. She received her B.F.A. degree at the School of Fine Art and Design at SUNY Purchase in Westchester, New York, and  then moved to Manhattan, where she worked as an animator, artist, and editor in the network television business.
 
Seeger lives in Rockville Centre, Long Island, with her husband, Chris, their two sons, Drew and Dylan, and their dog, Copper. She loves painting, surfing, tennis, playing the piano, and spending time with her family. She takes long walks at the beach every day and paints in her studio every night.

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Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Norman Farrell on Feb. 10 2009
Format: Hardcover
A great book for beginners. I recommend any book you find by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. She matchs simplicity with sophistication and young children love her work. This book invites its readers to turn the page, using cutouts for effective linking.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 61 reviews
90 of 93 people found the following review helpful
A concept journey: egg or chicken? chicken or egg? April 18 2008
By Judy K. Polhemus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Which came first--the chicken or the egg? Finally, someone is here to tell us. But the answer later.

"First the egg," written and illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, is a Caldecott honor winner for 2008 and an honor book for the Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) Award. What makes it special? Both the artwork and the story, or actually, in this case, concepts that lead from one transformation to the next. Two previous clever winners are Flotsam (Caldecott Medal Book) by David Wiesner and Black and White, an earlier Caldecott by David Macauley.

I took this book from a display in our bi-annual Book Fair. I read it in just one minute. Then reread it. And reread it. Every time I pick up this seemingly simple book, I see something else I missed. Even the covers are part of the story. This book is more than clever--it is brilliant, as in illuminating.

Listen, here is the story. Get comfortable and let me read it to you:

First the EGG
then the CHICKEN
First the TADPOLE
then the FROG
First the SEED
then the FLOWER
First the CATERPILLAR
then the BUTTERFLY
First the WORD
then the STORY
First the PAINT
then the PICTURE, First the CHICKEN
then the EGG!

Well? Exactly! Without the bold colors and almost in-your-face images in the background, the words are fine, but...? A Caldecott Award is given to the most distinguished picture book of the year. Please look at the cover image with this review. That gives an idea of the power of the colors and paint technique, which is impasto on canvas, providing two layers of texture. That is what this book has--texture: layers of texture in the art and the concepts.

Art? A creative, bold enterprise that can make the chicken or the egg first. Think it, do it. Create. That is exactly what Ms Seeger did. She created a bold, creative way to examine this age-old riddle.

"First the egg" is highly recommended, not only for children, who will adore it, but also for adults, who will be reminded of the grandeur of creation in all its many forms. Great children's books belong in the collection of adults as well as in children's.
65 of 70 people found the following review helpful
This author is a stand out Jan. 2 2008
By library lady - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have become a big fan of this author's work, which is saying a lot as I am, I'm told, very hard to please. There is a combination of ingenuity and beauty in this book that is almost impossible to describe without book in hand. Very useful for teaching transformation and the way Seeger works in the concept of creativity is no less than brilliant. I highly recommend this book to anyone from age 3 to 90.Dog and Bear (Neal Porter Books) (Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Winner-Best Picture Book) (Awards))The Hidden Alphabet (Ala Notable Children's Books. Younger Readers (Awards)) (Neal Porter Books)Lemons Are Not Red
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
First the Egg Jan. 20 2008
By Mrs. Linda Roy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
We purchased this book for our 3 yr. old grandson for Christmas, and it was wonderful. He just loved it and ask us to read it to him every night before he went to bed, and during the day also. It is easy to read, and is a good teaching tool.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Which comes first? Feb. 14 2008
By Reading is my hobby - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A lovely book for young people, with die cut pages that explain some of life's mysteries in an age appropriate way.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
a beautiful union of simple & profound, color & story Jan. 23 2009
By Carrie Dunham-LaGree - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
First the Egg exemplifies the reasons the ALA awards Caldecott honors on picture books for the pictures: pictures may tell stories more powerfully than words alone. The story is simple and succinct, but the pictures tell the story. This picture book is nonfiction, and it is informative, but its information more powerfully told through the pictures. The backdrop of the pages are paintings. Through the colors of these paintings and the cutouts of the pages , Seeger makes the connection between eggs and chickens, tadpoles and frogs, seem even more literal. The first page, for example shows a cutout of an egg. When the reader turns the page, it becomes clear the egg was part of the chicken, and the cutout now uses the yellow from the underneath page to form the body of the baby chicken. This theme of continuity and connectedness continues throughout the short book. The pictures in this story are sure to delight and amaze young readers, but the pictures and visual displays are cool enough to fascinate older readers who might want to understand how Seeger achieved the cutout effects. For older students, I would follow a reading of this book with a craft challenge for them to make their own cutout story.


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