The Enormous Egg

by Oliver Butterworth (1956)

An Intro and Sweet Spot selection.

An enormous dinosaur egg.  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 his story’s charm has resonated with young readers and families for over 50 years.

Young Nate Twitchell lives on a farm in Freedom, 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 cheapen this adventure with easy laughs. He brings in some science on dinosaurs and diets and pre-historic times, but it’s never heavy-handed. 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 straight-forward enough for even the youngest listeners.

Readers of all ages will identify with Nate as he ventures to Washington D.C., equally charmed and amused and thrilled by the prospect of walking a dinosaur on the National Mall.

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

What makes The Enormous Egg a perfect book for One School, One Book is that students and parents alike will dive into the details, eager to investigate. It will lead all to a sure and simple understanding of students’ priorities.