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First the Egg

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  4,226 Ratings  ·  398 Reviews
WHICH CAME FIRST? The chicken or the egg? Simple die-cuts magically present transformation-- from seed to flower, tadpole to frog, caterpillar to butterfly.

The acclaimed author of Black? White! Day? Night! and Lemons Are Not Red gives an entirely fresh and memorable presentation to the concepts of transformation and creatiity. Seed becomes flower, paint becomes picture, wo
Hardcover, 28 pages
Published September 4th 2007 by Roaring Brook Press
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Cassandra Gelvin Look at the top of the page, to the right of the cover image.

Community Reviews

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Jul 30, 2009 karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: mark-harmon
this book was much too sophisticated for greg to figure out at first, but let me say for the record that i always understood and appreciated it. its the kind of book you have to actually physically look at to enjoy; its very well-constructed and kind of a hoot, . i didnt expect to like this book, but i can acknowledge the care and thoughtfulness that went into making it, and i actually really enjoyed reading it. twice. one more class to go and then back to adult books...mostly.
Jun 17, 2009 Greg rated it really liked it
What looks simple is actually quite sophisticated, or for me at least. Without Karen's help I would have been lost from the details of this book. Part of me was angered that the book thought the egg came first and then the chicken, but then I realized this book was actually a subtle reworking of the age old question, and possibly a worthy addition to the philosophy section.
Jun 26, 2008 babyhippoface rated it really liked it
Kids really get into this book. It makes them feel smart when they can predict what comes next, and it makes them think when their predictions are wrong.

I had kids in my school create their own pages for a book like this (thanks for the terrific idea, Judy Freeman!) and they came up with some great ones. Some of my favorites (or those that I can remember now that summer's here): First the thread, then the shirt; First the book, then the library; First the blue and yellow, then the green. <&g
L12_luisespinoza Espinoza
Jan 31, 2012 L12_luisespinoza Espinoza rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This picture book expresses in a very simplistic way the idea of change and transformation through a straightforward approach. From the first couple of pages showing "First the Egg, then the Chicken", to the last couple of pages showing "First the Chicken, then the Egg" and everything in between (the tadpole to frog, the seed to flower, the caterpillar to butterfly, the word to story, the paint to picture), the die cut format of the pages provides surprises at every turn of the page. The thick, ...more
Sara Ullery
Nov 06, 2016 Sara Ullery rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-reviews
first the Egg by Laura Seeger
• Sweet story simply explaining what came first. Great choice for younger children, first the seed, then the flower!
• Prek-1
• Teachers may use this for circle time, reading lesson, English, science
• Individual students will really enjoy the illustrations and simple sentences in this book making it a great choice for beginners
• Small groups may use this book to discuss what came first, and some of what surprised them!
• Whole classes may use this book relating to sci
Apr 01, 2011 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
This is such a fun little book! Its simple text is nonetheless effective: "First the egg. Then the chicken. First the tadpole. Then the frog." on up through seeds and flowers, to words and stories and paint and pictures. Cut-outs in the page help to form the illustrations and it's very fun to see how the cut-out fits with the next picture when you turn the page. I was smiling all the way to the last picture. And as to which came first, the chicken or the egg, it may not be as clear as the title ...more
Nov 20, 2013 midnightfaerie rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
A book my 6 yr old as well as my twin 3 yr olds loved. A solid reading level 1 book, this cute story keeps all ages engaged with the bright colorful pictures and cute story. A great addition to any children's library.
Amy Vana
Feb 06, 2017 Amy Vana rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
First the Egg written and illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger is a 2008 Caldecott Honor Book and a 2007 New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year.

I was first introduced to this early childhood picture book in Children’s Handbook in Children’s Hand; A Brief Introduction to their Literature. I located the text edition at my local library. The library also had an electronic format; Hoopla Audio Book. The electronic format was easy to follow, paced appropriately, and had an engagi
Dec 10, 2012 Laurie rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Citation: First the Egg, by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. (Roaring Brook Press, 2007). 32p. Controlled Vocabulary.

Summary: This non-fiction easy reader introduces before and after science, reading, and writing concepts. Beginning with an egg turning into a chicken, it comes full circle to show the chicken, then the egg, at the end.

Critique: (a.) This book’s greatest strength is its illustrations. It was awarded the Theodor Geisel Award as well as the Caldecott Honor. Colorful paintings and accompanying
Hayley Larson
Apr 02, 2012 Hayley Larson rated it it was amazing
This book was actually one of my very favorite Caldecott winners/honors. I thought not only the concept was really informative and cute for children, but the artistry and creativity using cut-outs was quite enticing as well. I felt like I loved this book just as much as a child would because of the colors and illustrations. On each picture you could see the brushstrokes which was another beautiful touch. The book showcased the age old question: what came first, the chicken or the egg? It begins ...more
Feb 01, 2010 Lauma rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
First the Egg is a 2008 Caldecott Honor book written for children ages 4 to 6. It is nearly a wordless picture book that is about transformations: "first the egg, then the chicken; first the tadpole, then the frog...first the word, then the story". The illustrations in this book are colorful, yet simple, child-like paintings in hues that capture the environment of the subject. The author puts an interesting twist at the end of the book to reinforce the concept of the the circle of life--the book ...more
Jennifer Nemo
Oct 05, 2013 Jennifer Nemo rated it really liked it
Shelves: libs-642
summary: First the egg then the chicken. Then the book continues with seeds, tadpoles, and caterpillars.

Curriculum Connection: First...then..., sequence of events, connections

Audience: pre-k-2

Personal Reaction: I loved the simplicity of the book. The cutouts make it fun and make you want to read it again.

Visual Appeal: The use of all primary colors with visible brush strokes will appeal to young children.
Sep 19, 2011 Jill rated it it was amazing
I really thought the way this book was done was ingenious. It's a cut-out book with various cut-outs meaning one thing on one side of the page, and then after turning the page, the cut-out is something else. A lot of thought went into the creation of this book, and I think it would help small children with understanding shapes and the way things progress from one stage to another (ex. from an egg to a chicken, from a caterpillar to a butterfly, etc.).
4.5 out of 5
I couldn't stop reading this book over and over... Simple, beautiful and so clever!
Sierra Lasky
Feb 13, 2017 Sierra Lasky rated it liked it
Shelves: award-winners
This book shows how one thing transforms into another. For example, going from an egg to a chicken or a caterpillar to a butterfly. This book would be very good for students that can’t read or that are just beginning to read because there are minimal words and they can understand the book by looking at the pictures. It is written very simply and has the same form throughout the book. The book is filled with a large variety of colors. The illustrations make the book very easy to read. There are f ...more
Nov 13, 2016 Makenzie rated it it was amazing
Caldecott- My favorite thing about this book was the pictures. The illustrator did a great job. I appreciate this book because it is a great way to teach students the process of an egg becomes a chicken, a caterpillar goes into a cocoon and becomes a butterfly, and first you paint and then you get the picture. I would read this book to my class because I really hope to teach kindergarten someday and I think it is a great book for that grade level.
Elaine Hoach
Dec 05, 2016 Elaine Hoach rated it really liked it
Shelves: ed-230
Such a cute book for little kids... with cutouts to show what each thing turns into.
December 2016
Liz Todd
Mar 19, 2017 Liz Todd rated it liked it
Patterned: first the...then the...
Alexandra Henry
Mar 14, 2017 Alexandra Henry rated it it was amazing
Did the chicken or the egg come first? This book shows the transition from a starting point to the end final product. It shows how things grow and change. It explains that in many cases, things may not always be what they seem. A few examples in the book is a seed becomes a flower and a word becomes a story. The final form is not always obvious with the initial object.

This book shows the meaning that things are not always what they seem. You need to let things take their course to see the final
Mar 07, 2017 Nicole added it
I thought this would be a cute and fun book for younger grades. This book just shows what comes first and then what comes after. For example, first the caterpillar then the butterfly. One of the main reasons I liked this book was because of the illustrations. Even though this book is very simple I enjoyed it and thought younger students would as well.
Amanda Toombs
Sep 09, 2011 Amanda Toombs rated it really liked it
Genre: Picture book--Concept

Summary: This 2008 Caldecott Honor Book author shows different transformations through painting illustrations and also cut out pictures in which tell a story by using “firsts” and “thens.” Each concept, such as nature, reading, writing and art are shown by a cut outs to show what the next stage of transformation will be. The book completes a circle to question: What comes first the chicken or the egg?!
a. Being a concept book, one of its greatest strengths is
Kathy Davie
Sep 15, 2016 Kathy Davie rated it it was ok
A concept book in picture book form for young children that isn't a story. Instead it shows how life transforms into something else. The egg becomes a chicken, the tadpole becomes a frog, a word turns into a story, and paint creates a picture.

In 2008, First the __ won the Caldecott Honor and the Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor. Which just figures since I didn't like how the "story" was presented.

My Take
There's a cute use of a cut-out in the first few pages as Seeger introduces us to the characters. T
Debbie Gillespie
Sep 11, 2011 Debbie Gillespie rated it really liked it
1. Genre: Children’s Picture Book/ Concept Book
2. Summary: This is a sweet book that tackles the age-old question, which came first the chicken or the egg? With very few words, but beautiful pictures that appear to be painted right on the page with acrylic paint and die-cuts that allow you to view a section of the following page, this well-thought out book , allows the reader to explore the concepts of first and second, part and whole, and the idea that one thing can transform into another.
3. Cr
Oct 25, 2012 Diana rated it it was amazing
First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

1. Genre: Concept Picture Book

2. Summary: This concept book about sequence shows an egg and then a chicken, a tadpole and then a frog, a seed and then a flower, a caterpillar and then a butterfly, words and then a story, paint and then a picture.

3. Critique:
a. Area for comment: The theme of transformations can be seen from page to page and easily understood in this book, with few words used.

b. Comment: The paintings with die-cuts and carefully chosen col
Oct 09, 2012 Heidi rated it liked it
First the Egg, by Laura Vaccaro Seeger(Roaring Book Press, 2007)28 p. Concept Picture Book.

Summary – This is a book about the national progression of living things – seedlings to flowers, tadpoles to frogs, caterpillar to butterfly. However, this story is told in a creative manner where one phase blends into another through strategically placed cut-outs which kids and adults alike will find intriguing.

Critique – A. The simplicity of the style of the book.

(B.) The debate over “what comes first, t
Lacey Luce
Sep 23, 2012 Lacey Luce rated it really liked it
First the Egg
By Laura Vaccaro Seeger
2008 Caldecott Honor Book
Seeger, L. V. (2007). First the egg. New Milford, Connecticut: Roaring Brook Press.

1. Concept Picture Book

2. This book takes you on a journey to understand the concept that everything comes from something. It shows the reader many examples including first the egg then the chicken, first the tadpole then the frog. The book is a great little story teaching the which came first concept.

3.a. Illustrations

b. The illustrations were great in
Natalie Varnell
Nov 03, 2012 Natalie Varnell rated it it was amazing
The First Egg
Author: Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Genre: Concept Book
Summary: First the Egg is both a Caldecott and a Theordore Seuss Geisel Honor book. The book is organized to show an order of sequence of what precedes another. It demonstrates that the egg comes before the chicken, the seed before the flower, the word before the story, and so forth. It teaches this succession with introducing the FIRST (picture) and following it with a THEN (picture).

a) The author and illustrator of this book did a bea
Cassandra Gelvin
Feb 08, 2017 Cassandra Gelvin rated it really liked it
Doesn't even attempt to answer the “which came first” question.

It's a little more interesting than many books, but not by much. It's got a bunch of holes cut in the pages, so it's got this interesting style/gimmick of one painting turning into another. It's reasonably accurate about nature, with eggs turning into chickens, tadpoles turning into frogs, seeds turning into flowers, caterpillars turning into butterflies, et cetera, and then it goes off about words turning into stories and paint beco
Alison Flemming
Sep 23, 2012 Alison Flemming rated it really liked it
First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (Roaring Brook Press 2007). 26p Concept book.

Summary: This is a great book to help children understand the concept of which comes first in life, for example, the chicken or the egg? The illustrations throughout the book help the children see exactly what the author is talking about.

a. This book is a great book for children to start understanding what comes first in life. This book has few words but the words that are there are important. The illus
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Laura Vaccaro Seeger is a New York Times best-selling author and illustrator and the recipient of a 2008 Caldecott Honor, Theodor Seuss Geisel Honors for both 2009 and 2008, a 2007 New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award, and the 2007 Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for Best Picture Book. Her books include First the Egg, The Hidden Alphabet, and Dog and Bear, among others.

Raised on Long Island, Ne
More about Laura Vaccaro Seeger...

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