Written & Illustrated by Édouard Manceau
Owlkids Books 9/15/2014
Age 3 to 7 32 pages
“The little bird is hatching! The little bird is hatching!
“Animals gather. Cameras Flash. The excitement builds. Is it happening? How much longer? Will the little bird live up to the crowd’s expectations? Get ready to find out! One . . . two . . . three . . . “
A reindeer, with a camera slung over his shoulder, rides his motorcycle. Where is he going? I have no idea. “Hey, Jack! Are you going to see the little bird hatch?”
A flat tire has Jack stopped on the side of the road. Reindeer gives Jack a lift. As they travel, the road becomes congested with cars, bikes, and campers. Everyone is excited. Little bird will be hatching soon. With cameras in hand, the visitors walk toward the egg. Even a few bees have flown in for the occasion. I was hoping a couple of the bees would have a teeny-tiny camera. Actually, all the cameras are real, not an iPhone in sight. At the egg, a mouse raises her purse. She wears a black almost square hat and appears to be in charge of the gathering, or maybe she was just the first to arrive. The light-orange egg waits, sitting upright, unaware of the happenings around it.
“Ooooh! Here we go!”
“Hatch little egg!”
“Get ready! One, two, three . . . “
The egg cracks. The crowd’s excitement grows. Eyes widen in anticipation. The top of the egg pops off and the little bird is free. No one takes a picture. No one smiles. Everyone looks surprised, yet no one looks happy. Only the mouse has her arms stretch out as if to say, “Tada!” Someone else says,
“What on earth”
Everyone looks confused. Still, not one flash fills the area around the egg and it’s former tenant. He waves. Asks why no one wants to take his picture. No one moves. The mouse looks angry. One by one, the crowd disperses. They are disappointed, denied the show they came to see. The egg’s occupant is completely free and stands smiling as the crowds go home. Why, what just happened? Something is wrong, or at least not right.
The illustrations in Hatch, Little Bird are wonderful. They are very similar to The Race (reviewed here). Bright eyes fill every car and bike. The enthusiasm is palatable. The happy crowd contains the reindeer, Jack (owl), birds, bears, and bees, the mouse, and at least one rhino. Really, it’s a zoo. Kids will love these animals and will understand both, what they came to see and why they leave disappointed.
The humorous twist is totally unexpected. Actually, I had no idea why this egg hatching was so important, at least to the crowd. There will be kids who will want to know how what came out of the egg, got into the egg. It’s a very good question. Slowly, turn the page. Pretty funny, I thought. Kids will think it is funny, too. They may not get the crowd-mentality, or even care, but they will get the twist, or the joke, if you will.
Kids will like Hatch, Little Bird and be able read it themselves after hearing the story once. They can go off and make up story after story about why they came, and what happened the day the egg hatched. Imaginations free to go wild or mild. This is one reason I like Mr. Manceau’s work. The other reason is the strange creatures he draws. Positioned against a white background, the creatures seem to pop off the page. Hatch, Little Bird is a goofy story with endless possibilities for your child’s imagination. A book they can read by themselves. Hatch, Little Bird, a French import, is a delightful picture book for young children. The multiple layers will tickle adults.
HATCH, LITTLE EGG. Text and illustrations copyright © 2013 Éditions Milan. Reproduced by permission of the US publisher, Owlkids Books, Berkeley, CA.
Purchase Hatch, Little Bird at Amazon—B&N—Book Depository—Owlkids Books—your favorite local bookstore.
Learn more about Hatch, Little Bird HERE
Meet the author/illustrator, Édouard Manceau, at his website: http://edouardmanceau.blogspot.com/
Find more pictures books that delight at the Owlkids Books website: http://www.owlkids.com/
Translated by Karen Li
Éditions Milan originally published Hatch, Little Bird in 2013, in France.
Also by Édouard Manceau
Copyright © 2014 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews