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First the Egg Hardcover – 19 Mar 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books (19 Mar. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845079698
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845079697
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 0.9 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 429,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Evolution… metamosphosis… Never too early to introduce a concept… this is so beautiful you can smell the paint on the canvas. (Families South East)

Another easy egg to crack. It is a beauty - an exploration of the evolving mystery of the world. First the egg, then the chicken. First the tadpole, then the frog. First the seed, then the flower. Seegar's paintings are lovely and the book has been ingeniously designed so that every other page contains a cut out - for example, a circle surrounds the seed which, once the page is turned, is revealed to be part of a flower. It is a book to gladden the heart, just right for Easter. (Observer)

The concept of before and after, and of growing are all summed up sumpteously in First the Egg. The richly textured brushstrokes illustrating each page are exquisite and make you want to touch each one. Reading this book appeals to all of your senses and cleverly covers complex subject matter. Transformations, time/chronology, science, life metamorphosis and creativity are all expressed so succinctly and accessibly in this little gem of a book. A book like this will support children so much in their learning, helping to develop their language, chronological development, creativity, investigation and questioning skills. (EYE)

A creative, colourful, charming first reader about transformations. (Times)

Very attractive and cleverly planned 'holey' picture book aimed at very young children. Highly Recommended! (School Librarian)

How do you introduce the concept of growth and metamorphosis to very young children? This book succeeds magnificently through imaginative design, a vibrant palette and boldy excecuted illustrations. But what makes it exceptional is that it takes children from the notion of change in nature to their own capacity to create, whether in words or with paint. (Books for Keeps)

The ultimate picture book: simple and stunning. Using expressive brushstrokes of acrylic on canvas and a die cut on every other page, she shows the transformation of egg to chicken, tadpole to frog, seed to flower, word to story and finally back from chicken to egg. (Sunday Telegraph)

A magical tribute to creation in all its forms. Whimsical and bold, this simple picturebook is a delight to read and both parent and child will enjoy sharing the humour. (INIS)

An intriguing book that will certainly fascinate young children and raise lots of opportunities for discussion. The illustrations are bold and lively. (Nursery World)

This is an intriguing book that will fascinate young children and raise plenty of opportunities for discussion. The illustrations are bold and lively. (EYE)

About the Author

Laura Vaccaro Seeger is an Emmy Award-winning artist and animator. Her first book The Hidden Alphabet was an American Literary Association Notable Children's Book, a Kirkus Editor's Choice and a Child Magazine Best Book of the Year. Laura lives close to the beach on Long Island, New York, with her husband, Chris, and their two young boys, Drew and Dylan. Her books for Frances Lincoln are Lemons are not Red and First the Egg.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By avid reader on 28 Aug. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was a true find and has quickly established itself as a favourite with our children. The illustrations are richly painted and beautifully stimulating to the eye. There are so many amusing and surprising elements within. The cutouts that let you peek onto the next page are so clever as there's so much more waiting than you & your kids could guess. This book shouldn't just be for children, but a must for design students. Laura Vaccaro Seeger has done an outstanding job!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 63 reviews
90 of 93 people found the following review helpful
A concept journey: egg or chicken? chicken or egg? 18 April 2008
By Judy K. Polhemus - Published on
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
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 2 Jan. 2008
By library lady - Published on
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 20 Jan. 2008
By Mrs. Linda Roy - Published on
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? 14 Feb. 2008
By Reading is my hobby - Published on
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 24 Jan. 2009
By Carrie Dunham-LaGree - Published on
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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