The Enormous Egg

by Oliver Butterworth (1956)

An Intro and Sweet Spot selection.

Young Nate Twitchell lives on a farm in Freedom, New Hampshire. His days are filled with chores which he tends to responsibly. Until the day he finds one of the hens atop an unusual egg – a prehistoric egg – a Paleolithic egg… That’s when Nate’s odyssey begins.

Taking care of an enormous egg and the Triceratops that emerges from it are brand new responsibilities. But he takes them on with his typical conscientiousness and names his new charge Uncle Beazley after a rather dino-faced relative.

Of course, a dinosaur hatching in New Hampshire is big news and pretty soon everyone from scientists to luggage companies are bombarding Nate with offers to purchase Uncle Beazley. (Dino-hide suitcase, anyone?) At first, all Nate wants to do is keep the dinosaur as part of the family. But the impending winter means that the cold-blooded dino will need a heated home, so Nate and Uncle Beazley make their way to the National Zoo in Washington, DC and onto the national political stage. When budget cuts threaten Uncle Beazley, young Nate appeals to the voters to contact their Congressional representatives to save him.

I was just hoping that some of you people that are listening would want to save my dinosaur, though now he’s really your dinosaur too, and if you do want to save him, would you please tell your Senators and Representatives to vote against the Dinosaur Bill. But you better do it quick or there won’t be anything left to save. 

The simplicity of Nate’s speech can provide a template for student election speeches. Civic engagement wins the day, saves the dinosaur, and Nate makes a triumphant return to New Hampshire.

Butterworth doesn’t cheapen this adventure with easy laughs. Instead, he delivers the plot in a straightforward manner. The science on dinosaurs and information on the political process are filtered through Nick’s eyes to make it all accessible for any listener. At 184 pages, sprinkled with expressive illustrations, The Enormous Egg makes a wonderful introduction to reading aloud together.

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