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.