The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett, published by Macmillan Children's
At our eldest daughter's third birthday party this weekend, we had a dinosaur themed pass the parcel. Contained within each layer of wrapping was a small brontosaurus, pterodactyl and triceratops.
The final prize, won (of course) by the birthday girl, was a 'dinosaur egg', from which, when left overnight in a bowl of water, emerged a large sponge tyrannosaurus Rex.
So it seemed particularly fitting to enjoy a reading tonight of Emily Gravett's marvellous modern classic, The Odd Egg.
Depicted through her distinctive pastel watercolour and pencil illustration, and a clever use of flaps for dramatic effect, we follow the travails of duck, the only bird in the book who hasn't laid an egg.
While owl, flamingo, robin, chicken and parrot look on at their clutch with pride, duck is alone. When he (yes he) finds an enormous egg covered with green spots, he thinks it's the most beautiful he's ever seen.
In the face of the others' taunts and ridicule, he nurtures his huge egg. After all, their insults are merely water off his back.
When all the other eggs hatch, duck starts to wonder if his ever will, and he settles down to knit a long, woolly scarf while he waits.
The ending is a joyful surprise, not to be given away here. The other birds certainly learn their lesson for their meanness, and duck and his hatchling waddle off happily together.