Argus by Michelle Knudsen

417epwdrl0l_sl500_aa300_Lynn: “Don’t be difficult, some things are just different,” says Sally’s teacher as Sally peers dubiously at her science project egg in Argus (Candlewick 2011).  Different it is!   The egg is large and green with yellow spots and readers know that something unusual is inside.  The enticing cover gives away the secret but the fun is in watching just how different the difference is.  A small green dragon, Argus, emerges from the egg and it is no wonder Sally begins to think that the whole thing isn’t working out.  Argus grows way too large, tries to eat the other chicks and digs up the neighbor’s yard.  The story has a big smile behind the straight-forward text and cleverly detailed illustrations reveal the joke behind the words.  Each page is full of funny details to spot as Sally  – and her whole class – learn that sometimes being different is really a good thing.

Let’s see – a dragon baby running amok and chaos in the classroom.  Any doubt that our focus group loved this book?  Kids easily get the joke and every page offers more fun.  Andrea Wesson’s comic illustrations and Knudsen’s tongue-in-cheek story are eggs-actly right.

enormous-eggCindy: One of my favorite books as a young reader was The Enormous Egg by Oliver Butterworth. I must have read it dozens of times and again just a few years ago. Sally is more dubious about her “different egg” than Nate Twitchell, but there are many similarities in the results of caring for a rather large beastie. The “scientific documentation” is shown in age appropriate ways and the differences between Sally’s “chick” and the rest of the tiny balls of yellow fluff is evident in the extra paper that her charts, graphs and drawings require. Observation points out the differences too:

“Now let’s investigate what our little chicks like to eat.”

“Mine likes seeds!” said one boy.

“Mine likes beetles!” said another.

“Mine is trying to eat the other chicks,” said Sally.

Don’t be difficult, Sally, some things are just different! Indeed.

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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