An egg in the garden. An egg on the path.
An egg in a shoe. An egg in the bath.
"Cluck, cluck! Wonderful me!
Cackle, cackle! My eggs are free!"
Young Nelson despairs that his hen won't lay her eggs in his henhouse, so decides to lock her in until she lays in the nest. But Omeletta is a stubborn creature and refuses to lay any eggs at all until she is freed. Children will laugh out loud at the hilarious antics of the lively and very loopy Omeletta hen!
Illustrated by Deborah Hinde
This is a super cute book to read. It has cute pictures, and it catchy to read! Children can follow along, using the natural rhythm and beat to help them. The story is cheeky and is about Omeletta the chicken who is determine to lay her eggs anywhere she wants (free range) rather than within you hen box. The other man character is a young boy who lives on the farm - both characters are easily relatable.
I read it to my young niece for enjoyment, and they were able to listen and engage with the story. It lead itself into a chat about farms and the animals which live on them. This is a drastic comparison to the conversation I had with my 10/11 year olds in class (I'm a teacher) about barns and the conversation around caged eggs vs barn eggs vs free range. This book was a great conversation starter and is easy to read. As a teacher I also see the benefits of repetition and rhyme within the book. For an earlier reader, a text having these two aspects really helps them to focus on the reading through memorisation of words.
It opens up lots of possible conversations for all ages. But is also a book one can read to their kids simply for the enjoyment.
Miss Three now has a companion who is just as much into books as she is: since turning one, her little brother has insisted on joining in with all the stories whether or not he understands them completely. However, there was no problem with either of them understanding this tale. They were both totally engrossed in the adventures of Omeletta, and because they had recently visited Willowbank Wildlife Reserve and seen birds of all kinds roaming around, they responded with enthusiasm to the idea of a hen with attitude.
The illustrations were pitched at exactly the right level for children of this age. Because they were bold and colourful, and followed the story faithfully, both children were able to recognise all the details. Miss Three loved to hear about all the funny places that Omeletta was laying her eggs; the idea of Nelson having one of the eggs deposited on his head was just too funny. Even Mr One picked up on what was happening and was keen to have the action described a second time in his parents' own words.
The adults loved the idea of Omeletta throwing her weight around and refusing to do what was expected of her. Both parents love to read to their children and share stories with them, but it is a bonus when those parents love the book as much as the children do. As their mother said, she sympathised fully with poor Nelson as she can relate to trying to deal with difficult people! And who can be more difficult than a pre-schooler?
The text is written partly in rhyme and partly in prose, with the rhyming sections saved for the parts where the egg-laying places are listed, or when Omeletta is actually speaking. The children joined in the rhyming sections with enthusiasm, chanting them almost as if they were a song. This technique was particularly engaging for Mr One who paid very close attention to the illustrations in these sections as he listened to the words.
The book has had several outings with the children already, and is on track to become a family favourite. It is lovely to see such young children concentrating so hard on a story - the attention span of a pre-schooler is not always very long, so it is a rare book that can command such buy-in. It also opens up the chance to talk about free-range or barn eggs vs cage eggs as the children get older; animal rights are easier to understand when they can be explained through a simple story. Hopefully, the binding will survive a few more years of children turning the pages to look at their favourite picture.
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"Ever notice that 'what the hell' is always the right decision?"
Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962)