I just finished re-reading The Enormous Egg, by Oliver Butterworth. I read a lot of middle-grade and young adult fiction, and while perusing the stacks in my library I saw The Enormous Egg. I had to check it out.
I have very fond memories of this book, although I'd never actually read it until now. Well then, how can I have such fond memories of it, you may ask? It was read to me when I was around six years old. My family and a neighbor family down the street rented a cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains for a week one summer, and every evening before bed, Mrs. Hinze would read to all of the assorted children from this book.
Oh, it was a lot of fun each night before bed to hear about this chicken who laid an egg which hatched into a dinosaur! And the name that Nate Twitchell gave to his little dinosaur has never left my head. I think that every time I've ever seen a Triceratops I've thought of the name, Uncle Beazley. What also made the book come alive was, at that time, I lived in the Washington, D.C. area and had visited the National Zoo and the Natural History Museum many times - places that figure prominently in the book.
At one point, I'm not sure exactly when, the Natural History Museum put two dinosaur sculptures out front, just across the street so they were actually on the Mall. One of the sculptures was a Triceratops. Of course we all called it Uncle Beazley every time we saw it. I'm not sure if the sculptures are still there. It seems like little children liked to climb on them, so eventually a low fence was placed around them. And then it seems like they may not have been there when I had a chance to take my own little tots to see the sights in D.C. many years ago.
Okay, I just checked. To see a picture of the Triceratops sculpture and to find out where it is nowadays, follow this link.
Anyway, the book is still charming, and although it was published for the first time way back in 1956, I think it would still be a good read for a child today. Sure, there are some kind of unbelievable things that happen (you may be thinking - chicken hatching a dinosaur; but I'm thinking - little kid is allowed to ride dinosaur around D.C. unsupervised, and some pretty over the top actions by some senators). But really, those kinds of things don't bother little kids. They have lots and lots of imagination and can deal with things that we grown-ups can't.
When my husband came home and saw the book lying on the table, he said, "The Enormous Egg?! That was one of my favorite books!"
Read it to someone you love today. You'll be glad you did, and the illustrations by Louis Darling will delight.