The other day I began reading this story.
It was the tale of an extraordinary egg. As you perhaps surmised from the title of the book. An Extraordinary Egg by Leo Lionni.
Jessica the frog (that’s her on the cover) lived on Pebble Island with her two friends. Jessica was a frog full of wonder; always off somewhere, exploring her world.
One day she discovered a perfect, white (like the snow) round (like the full moon) stone. And even though it was almost as big as she was, she decided to take it home with her, to show the others.
You can imagine that she was pretty excited!
‘Look what I found!’ she shouted when she arrived.
‘That’s not a pebble,’ said Marilyn (who knew everything about everything). ‘That’s an egg. A chicken egg.’
‘How do you know?’ asked an incredulous Jessica.
‘There are some things you just know,’ replied a rather smug Marilyn.
At which point I paused. And we reflected. And we predicted.
What, I asked, do you think happened next?
And after some of us had shared aloud our thoughts, we drew and we wrote. Here is a selection of our ideas.
Quite a lot of us latched onto the chicken idea (well, we had just seen, at very close quarters, five newly-hatched and delightfully fluffy baby chicks).
‘I think a chicken is going to get out from the egg,’ wrote Takomerwa.
Lakeisha also thought that ‘a chicken is going to hatch out of the egg.’ Emily as well. ‘I think that the egg is going to hatch. I think that a chicken is going to come out,’ is what she wrote.
Joseph was a little more specific. Not only was a chicken going to hatch, but it would be wet (as he had just learnt that real chickens are, when first they hatch).
Tanisha too thought that a Marilyn must really know everything about everything.
‘I think that a chicken is going to hatch out and Jessica is surprised to see it.’ You see, she had remembered that Jessica had never ever seen a chicken before. Seeing one for the first time would be a surprise!
But what’s this? Ella has other ideas.
‘I think a baby alligator is going to come out,’ she wrote (some might say rather contrarily).
And why, pray?
‘Because the picture on the front, it had one on it!’ she explained.
Do you remember?
So it did!
And now let’s turn the page shall we and see who’s right.
Yes, the egg hatched!
Ella had got it right. An alligator hatched out.
Of course there’s a bit more to the story than just that. And I don’t think I am spoiling it for you when I tell you that of course (of course) the three frogs believe until the very end of the tale that what to us is clearly an alligator, is, to them (also clearly) very much a chicken. Albeit a four-legged, water-loving, many-toothed one.