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Ten Eggs in a Nest: Marilyn Sadler

Book: Ten Eggs in a Nest (Bright and Early Books for Beginning Readers)
Author: Marily Sadler
Illustrator: Michael Fleming
Pages: 48
Age Range: 3-7

Ten Eggs in a Nest is an early reader from the Bright and Early Books collection. In my house, we've found it to be quite educational (and fun) for a pre-reader, too. The premise of the story is that Gwen the chicken and Red Rooster are going to be parents. Out of supersition ("It's bad luck to count your eggs before they hatch.") Gwen won't tell Red how many eggs there are. As the eggs hatch, in increasing size batches (starting with one), Red rushes off to the worm store. Each time, before he gets back, there are more chicks, with a total of ten. 

This book works as an early reader. The words and sentence structure are simple (though not boring), and there is plenty of repetition. It also works as a counting and simple addition book. Like this:

"ONE plus TWO makes THREE baby chicks!" said Gwen.

And, laterL

"ONE plus TWO plus THREE plus FOUR makes TEN baby chicks!" clucked Gwen.

As a read-aloud, it's enjoyable, though I did find myself skimming by the fourth or fifth read. I think for new readers the repetition will provide scaffolding, and work well. The capitalizing of the text of the numbers helps to highlight those, too. 

I think what made my daughter ask to read it again (and again) was a combination of the fun of doing the counting, and the charm of Red Rooster. He's so proud when his babies are born - it's really adorable. Like this:

"Red strutted into Worm World.
He held his head high.
He puffed his chest out.
Pinky Pig was behind the counter."

There's also repeated humor when Red is surprised and says that you could have knocked him over with a feather. That, together with the "don't count your chicks before they are hatched" gives parents a chance to introduce the idea of sayings.

Michael Fleming's illustrations are boldly colored and inviting, with thick outlines and a spare use of texture. The birds are not representational, but they are all cute, especially the strutting red. My daughter noticed that the sign in Worm World is written with worm shapes, and she was quite charmed by this detail. 

all in all, Ten Eggs in a Nest is an early reader done well. It's definitely worth a look, and worth adding to school and public libraries.I look forward to trying it again when my daughter is actually ready to read. 

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (@RandomHouseKids
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

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