Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

It's No Yolk, You're Nice!

There are people known for always taking the high road in any given situation.  Regardless of circumstances they look for the silver lining.  They are the individuals others look to for support and consistency.  They live to be of service to others.

There is nothing wrong with striving for excellence but the drive for accepting nothing but perfection can take a toll.  It's a burden not all can bear regardless of their desires.  The Good Egg (Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPulishers, February 12, 2019), companion title to The Bad Seed, written by Jory John with illustrations by Pete Oswald is about one of a dozen who simply broke under the burden of being the best.

Oh, hello!
I was just rescuing this cat.
Know why?
Because I'm a good egg.

A verrrrrry good egg.

This egg's generosity knows no end.  Whatever you need done, from plant watering to house painting, this oval optimist is bursting with enthusiasm.  Good Egg has been this way as far back as he can remember, even though the other eleven companions in his residence exhibit far less than eggs-cellent behavior.

If these eleven find something to do wrong, they do it.  It is tiring to follow behind their antics making everything right, but Good Egg is a

verrrrrry good egg.

Do you think his housemates notice his worthy deeds?  They do not.  As to be expected our protagonist cracks.  There is no denying the tiny fissures along the top of his head.

A visit to his doctor confirms stress is the culprit.  He needs to stop trying to make the other eggs be as good as he is.  No one cares when he leaves.  After weeks of roaming without purpose Good Egg faces his aloneness and ponders his future.

He starts to focus on himself!  He does all those things he never had time to do previously.  The results are unexpected and life-changing.  Good Egg heads back to carton sweet carton and the surprises there are endless.

If the word play used in the title is not enough to signal to you the gift of humor employed by Jory John in his writing, by the third page when examples of the egg's goodness are being shared, you'll be laughing out loud.  It's not often you see an egg changing a tire on an automobile.  When we get to the naming of the companions in the carton and their daily devilry, readers will be giggling nonstop.

For added mirth Jory John repeats key phrases, uses terms usually reserved in reference to eggs and supplies conversations between the characters.  We can't help but feel a kinship with the Good Egg when he speaks to us in first person.  We shadow this being as he discovers the gift of balance in his life.  Here is a passage.

I told Meg and Peg and Greg and Clegg and Shel and
Shelly and Sheldon and Shelby and Egbert and Frank
and other Frank that I was leaving.

"I can't be the only good egg in a bad carton," I said.
"Blah blah blah," they replied.

Can you look at the front of the matching dust jacket and book case without smiling? I can't.  Those huge eyeglasses are the perfect added element to the wide-eyed happy egg's expression.  All the details in this picture, the text on the carton, the groceries surrounding Good Egg and the starry light radiating from the top invite us to read this book as soon as possible.  We can't wait to meet the Good Egg.  Some of the text and the main character are varnished on the jacket.

To the left, on the back, four egg cartons, stacked on top of each other, among other cartons in the background, provide a platform for Good Egg's home.  Underneath the lifted cover, the looks on the faces of the other eleven eggs are hilarious.  We know loads of laughter are in the offing.  The placement of the ISBN is eggs-actly where it should be.

The opening and closing endpapers in green with white feature fifteen other foods with the Good Egg framed by stars.  The title page image is a replica of the front of the jacket and case.  Pete Oswald

used scanned watercolor textures and digital paint to create the illustrations for this book.

Altering his perspective to complement the narrative and accentuate pacing, some of the pictures are full-page, small vignettes grouped on a single page or double-page visuals.  Every item contributes to a lively whole.  When Pete Oswald depicts the troublesome eggs and their actions, readers will be unable to contain their mirth.  When they go wild in the bathroom with toilet paper, toothpaste, the toilet and plunger, it's total chaos.  This supplies a wonderful contrast to the scenes which follow when Good Egg mends himself.  One of those small images shows him floating on the river in a flamingo tube sipping a lemonade drink.

One of my many, many favorite pictures is of Good Egg on a single page.  He is relaxing in a spa.  On the varied blue tiled floor are eight burning candles.  They surround a table.  On the table rests Good Egg in a white terry robe and wearing a towel turban.  He rests on a rolled-up towel.  A mask covers his face and cucumber slices are on his eyes.  The clock on the wall is pointing to ME time.

In this book, The Good Egg written by Jory John with illustrations by Pete Oswald, readers will be cheering for the egg always seeking to be as good as he can be.  They will empathize with his frustrations and enjoy his journey to finding a peaceful medium . . . for most of the time.  I highly recommend this title for your professional and personal collections.

To learn more about Jory John and Pete Oswald, please follow the links attached to their names to access their websites.  Jory John has an account on Twitter and Pete Oswald does, too.  Pete Oswald has an account on Instagram.  At the publisher's website you can view interior portions of the book.  Jory John visits with teacher librarian and blogger, Travis Jonker, on his site, 100 Scope Notes, to chat about his work and this book.

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