The Enormous Egg

by Oliver Butterworth (1993)

Such a simple fantasy – you’d almost call it timeless. But Oliver Butterworth doesn’t play it for fantasy. He has something else in mind – and its effective enough that this little chestnut just celebrated its 50th birthday – and is now charming and invigorating families and schools districts in the 21st century.

Young Nate Twitchell lives on a farm in New Hampshire. His days are filled with chores and his ambitions center on his responsibilities. Until the day one of his hens lays an unusual egg – a prehistoric egg – a Paleolithic egg… And that’s when Nate’s odyssey begins.

Butterworth doesn’t play it for laughs. He brings in some science on dinosaurs and diets and pre-historic times – but it’s never heavy or tendentious. There’s even a professor or two, but what they have to say is always filtered through Nate’s perspective and understanding – so it’s simple enough that even 1st graders can understand it.

Which means that readers of all ages will identify with Nate as he ventures to Washington D.C. – and be equally charmed and amused and thrilled by the prospect of walking your dinosaur on the National Mall!

When things turn serious – Butterworth puts the ethical burden – the decision on what to do that’s right and wrong – and how to push for it – on Nate’s shoulders. The simplicity and bluntness – the accessibility – of Nate’s speech – may turn out to be a template for student election speeches for a quick generation of elementary school students in your district.

Which makes The Enormous Egg an easy book for One School, One Book – students and parents alike – to investigate. It will lead all to a sure and simple understanding of students’ priorities.

"I started with a committee of 5 and some of them were skeptical - but at our last meeting, we had an overflow crowd of over 25. They (all) just came and wanted to be part of this project."

Mike Poore

Superintendent of Little Rock School District