Children’s Book Giveaway: Out of the Egg
March 30, 2010

Out of the Egg, written and illustrated by Tina Matthews, is a brilliant re-creation of the classic Little Red Hen tale.  And I say “brilliant” because…well…look, I am not a big fan of the original story, but I truly enjoy Out of the Egg.

Just as in the original tale, the Red Hen is forced to complete a series of tasks and her companions (Fat Cat, Dirty Rat, and Greedy Pig) refuse to help her.  This hen, however, is not planting wheat and baking bread.  Instead, she has found a green seed and she is growing a tree.  And while this re-telling holds true to teaching the value of hard work, I feel it improves upon the original because it also highlights sharing and kindness.  In Matthews’ tale, Red Hen has a chick who calls her on her rude behavior and inspires her to find a creative new solution to her problem.

As well, the illustrations are exquisite.  Out of the Egg is uniquely illustrated with painted Japanese wood block prints.  The pictures only contain four colors – white, black, red, and green – so they have a beautiful simplicity about them.  Even if you do not like new twists on old stories, I feel certain that you will love the illustrations.


Reading on a Sunday morning with Auntie E.

Pros: This book easily lends itself to discussions with children of all ages about sharing, kindness, independence, forgiveness, industriousness, and talking back.  It is also nice to see the growth cycle of the tree and this combined with the colors in the book could pave the way for conversations (with an older child) about environmentalism.

Cons: None.  Best of all, what an empowering message for children to see that parents make mistakes too!

Borrow or Buy: Buy.  This is one of Charlotte’s favorites – presumably because of the repetition and the colors.  It is already one of the most-read books we own.

Reading tip of the week: Incorporate reading into your daily schedule.  It may take some time, but if you are consistent, even a young baby will start to look forward to reading time.  But remember to be flexible – even a child who loves reading will not love it all the time.

About the publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is the largest K-12 publisher in the world, which is probably why so many of us will quickly recognize the name.  They began publishing children’s books in 1937 and have been backing award-winners ever since.

What to do: You can enter this giveaway by leaving a comment below telling me what your favorite classic story or fairy tale is.  All you need is an e-mail address.  International entries are welcome.  The giveaway ends Thursday evening at 9 P.M. Pacific Time and the winner will be announced Friday morning.  You can leave one entry every day, for a total of up to three entries.

For extra entries: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is the publisher of the Curious George books and they have a series of Curious George websites (you can find the home page here) that also celebrate reading with children.  To earn two additional entries, please become a fan of BecomingSarah.com on Facebook and leave a comment on the message board telling me what you love (or hate) about the world’s most famous monkey.

At least, I think Curious George is the world’s most famous monkey.  Isn’t he?

Isn’t that Facebook thing shameless self-promotion?  Kind of.  I want to be able to let all of you know when a book review is happening…without creating a newsletter.  Many readers check Facebook more often than their feed readers, so my hope is that this will cut down on the number of people who miss one, two, or all three days because they didn’t check their readers.

To purchase this book: You can buy Out of the Egg through Amazon.com (that link uses my affiliate code) or locate a local retailer through Indie Bound.org.

In other news: To answer a few e-mails: a) yes, I completely forgot about the Behind the Blog person this week.  Because I am lame.  Let’s hope I can pull my act together in the next day or two…and b) yes, I am still compiling the list of Odin’s friends.  The list isn’t very long, Donald and I are just having trouble with code.


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  1. By Zoe @ Playing by the book on March 30, 2010

    Oh my very favourite classic or fairy tale? That’s too difficult! My favourite THIS week is The Firebird - a Russian fairy story which we’re enjoying - particularly this version by Demi:
    http://www.amazon.com/Firebird-Demi/dp/0805078118

    (1)

  2. By Megan R. on March 30, 2010

    That is a tough one…hmmmm…..

    I guess one that comes to mind is The Princess and The Pea.

    So many to choose from!

    (2)

  3. By beyond on March 30, 2010

    i love all fairy tales! little red riding hood might be my favorite.

    (3)

  4. By on March 30, 2010

    Do Dr Seuss books count as classics?  I always loved Green Eggs and Ham!

    (4)

  5. By Sarah on March 30, 2010

    My favorite fairy tale is the Shoemaker and the Elves. 
    I love that it teaches kindness to others and gratitude.  Two things, I don’t believe are taught enough.

    (5)

  6. By Heidi on March 30, 2010

    Ooh, I love new twists on old stories.  This idea used to make a great unit when I was still in the classroom! 

    There are so many different versions of Cinderella that I love - I think my favorite is the Indian version.

    (6)

  7. By on March 30, 2010

    It is so hard to choose just one…anything Dr.Seuss is a favorite in our house

    (7)

  8. By on March 30, 2010

    Definitely anything by Dr Seuss.  I loved Alice in Wonderland too.  Wanted to be her when I grew up.

    (8)

  9. By gretchen from lifenut on March 30, 2010

    Favorite classic story….hrrmmm. So many. I guess my favorite fairy tale is Barrie’s Peter Pan. Not Disney’s.

    (9)

  10. By on March 30, 2010

    Dr. Seuss is always good but I always loved reading the Corduoy Bear books to my little sister because she loved them so much.

    (10)

  11. By on March 30, 2010

    Sounds like a goodie! 

    My favorite classic tale is “The Velveteen Rabbit.“  I remember reading the book as a kid, and also enjoying the reading by Merril Streep (music by George Winston) on tape.  I now have both for my little ones, and play the CD in the car for Hadley often.

    (11)

  12. By Sarah on March 30, 2010

    Wow!  That is so hard to choose!

    Two of my favorites that I remember reading to myself are:  The Boxcar Children and Little House on the Prairie.

    (12)

  13. By sarah on March 30, 2010

    I added Odin to my blog!!

  14. By Cynthia A on March 30, 2010

    When I was younger it was The Princess and The Pea!  My mom read to us all the time although we did not have many classic fairy tales!

    (13)

  15. By on March 30, 2010

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was one of my favorites growing up.  Also the Narnia series, which I read so many times that the books started falling apart.  It is important that you read them in the correct (traditional) order though, the new order doesn’t make any sense to me.

    (14)

  16. By on March 30, 2010

    I was already a fan on Facebook, but I just left a message about Curious George.

    I was about to say that I love the Cat in the Hat because I read it to my Charlotte every night. But then I saw Jen’s comment about Charlie and the Chocolate Factor and the Narnia series and I’m reminded that I LOVED those growing up too.

    I also loved reading Harry Potter to my step-sons and can’t wait to read it to Charlotte too when she is older.

    (15)

  17. By Marla on March 30, 2010

    Oh gosh. I can’t just choose one… I really loved “Jack and the Beanstalk,“ “The Three Bears,“ and “Cinderella.“

    (16)

  18. By Kimberly O'Rosky on March 30, 2010

    I don’t remember my parents ever reading to me when I was little - maybe that’s why I’m such a bookworm now! Once I was able to read one my own, I remember really loving Charlotte’s Web and The Narnia series.

    (17)

  19. By Stephanie on March 30, 2010

    OH MY GOSH she’s cute!

    (18)

  20. By on March 30, 2010

    My favorite fairy tale are the variations on “The 12 Dancing Princesses” or any sort of fairy story.

    (19)

  21. By on March 30, 2010

    Just love The Giving Tree.  My kids always wanted me to read it so they could see me cry!

    (20)

  22. By Jenny on March 30, 2010

    hmmm. I think my favorite fairy tale is Cinderella.

    (21)

  23. By on March 30, 2010

    A favorite of mine is “Diary of a Wombat” by Jackie French. Cheers

    (22)

  24. By Jen on March 30, 2010

    I love the story about the princess and the frog…We should never judge on appearance!

    (23)

  25. By Lauren @ In the Pudding Club on March 30, 2010

    Hmmm, classics - A.A. Milne and Rudyard Kipling - I LOVED the Just So Stories which my mom would read to me.  And Fairytale…  Gosh, all of them.  I guess Snow White always intrigued me.  Beauty and the Beast too.

    Sarah - I forgot to mention I have Odin on my blog as well for the directory.

    (24)

  26. By Kerry Johnson on March 30, 2010

    Oh that is a tough one.  I am so glad my mom saved all of mine and my brother’s story books from when we were younger because I am having a blast re-reading them to Madie.  One of them is a HUGE hardcover called something like “The Treasury of Classic Story Books” or something like that.  It has everything from Old Mother Hubbard to the Wizard of Oz in it!

    (25)

  27. By Sarah Mudder on March 30, 2010

    I love Goodnight Moon. :)

    (26)

  28. By on March 30, 2010

    My favorite has always been the Owl and the Pussy Cat.  A wonderful cross-species love story! 

    Thanks for these giveaways!

    (27)

  29. By Mailis on March 30, 2010

    Charlotte’s Web, Goodnight Moon, The Cat in the Hat and His Dark Materials. All are absolutely delicious.

    And speaking of delicious…look at Charlotte!! That little dress, those chubby ckeeks…oh boy. :)

    (28)

  30. By on March 30, 2010

    So many to choose from, but I’ve always loved the Huckle and Lowly books.

    (29)

  31. By on March 30, 2010

    Becuase I am a romatic and always have been, I have to say Cinderella!!

    (30)

  32. By Rebekah on March 30, 2010

    My absolute favorite growing up was Alice in Wonderland. Loved it so much.

    (31)

  33. By Sarah on March 30, 2010

    My daughter has the one more book pharse down to an artform. She loves anything with princesses, curious george, berenstein bears, for a while skunks…not sure how that started.

    I love reading her the new fractured fairytales told from someone else’s point of view or ones put in new settings like the true story of the three little pigs!

    sarah

    (32)

  34. By Jennifer Moore on March 30, 2010

    I can’t think of a classic story or favorite fairy tale. Swiss Family Robinson is one of my favorite classic stories, but it is for a little older audience. I’m really enjoying the duck books by Lynne Berry now as I read them to my daughter.

    (33)

  35. By Sarah@Crazy Love Gamble Style on March 30, 2010

    That is a tough one.  I love Rumpelstiltskin, I love The Velveteen Rabbit.  I am sure there are more.  Today’s new classics?  I love the whole series of “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” they are fun and have such great illustrations.  I am sure they will become classic.  I also love “Coco Counts” that is one of my favorites.  I can’t think who writes it at the moment but I could rail off every word of it if you would like…“If one chick is good, are two chicks much better?  If three chicks are chilly, should four knit a sweater…“  I could go on but I will spare you : )

    (34)

  36. By Children's Song Books on March 31, 2010

    Wow. The kid in the picture is so chubby and sweet. Nice share.

    (35)

  37. By on March 31, 2010

    Hm. This is a tough one Sarah! Even when I was little I didnt have a favorite… I loved them all! Ok, ok, ok… I loved the princess and the pea… and when I got a little older, I was fascinated with Rumpelstiltskin… but it was a slightly darker version, and I dont remember the author. Gosh, I also loved some slightly more off-beat things. In my family, the movie Willow was a classic!!!!!! LOL. I still love that movie…

    (36)

  38. By on March 31, 2010

    _The Giving Tree_ is now, and has always been, my favorite story.  I’ve read it to my 2-year-old hundreds of times.

    (37)

  39. By on March 31, 2010

    Cinderella!

    (38)

  40. By on March 31, 2010

    I love reading all the other comments! I have so many ideas for my 6 month old son’s reading list now. My favorite has to be “McGelligots Pool” by Dr. Seuss, maybe for the angel fish illustration alone! Paddington Bear is a close second.

    (39)

  41. By grace on March 31, 2010

    Velveteen Rabbit, The Giving Tree, Peter Rabbit.My 4 yr old loves the little red hen story.  we have a copy with great illustrations that she always wants to read.

    (40)

  42. By on March 31, 2010

    My favorite is also Good Night Moon. Everyone also wanted to get that for my daughter when she was born. It’s so much fun to be able to read it to her now.

    (41)

  43. By on March 31, 2010

    charlotte resembles auntie E a lot .

    (42)

  44. By Katie on April 01, 2010

    As a kid I was a sucker for all the classic Disney movies, especially Cinderella.  I think because I loved the idea that she was playing dress up and got to go to a fancy party.  For a long time in my mind the story ended at midnight and then she went home.  I forgot about the whole ‘prince’ part until I saw it again years later.

    (43)

  45. By Michelle on April 01, 2010

    Is Shel Silverstein a classic? ‘Cause if so, I choose him. :) Or maybe Bernstin Bears.

    (44)

  46. By on April 01, 2010

    I loved Where the Wild Things Are.

    (45)


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