In this Gallic import, mistaken identity leads to a demonstration of the saw that no good deed goes unpunished.
Concerned lest what he takes to be a lost egg come to harm, little dung beetle Babak selflessly abandons his own ball of dung to roll his new discovery laboriously off in search of its parents. In Prigent’s simple illustrations the round "egg" looks speckled—but its identity may dawn on readers after an ostrich’s observation: “It’s a strange one, isn’t it? It’s all dented!” The birds, frogs, and snakes he approaches politely send Babak on in turn, each delivering a little tidbit of information about its own eggs or egg-laying habits. And at last he comes to a field where people with long sticks are hitting similar objects “again and again, until the eggs fell into holes! What a horrible sight!” Rather than give up his find to such “brutes,” Babak hastens off, resolved to roll it home and hatch it himself. Good luck with that. Matte illustrations with the look of prints use few colors, the blues, yellows, greens, and reds popping against the brown-paper background with white and black accents.
Young readers will laugh at first, but the certainty that such altruism will go unrewarded gives the “yolk” an off odor; Lindsay Ward’s similarly themed When Blue Met Egg (2012) offers at least a concluding morsel of comfort. (Picture book. 6-8)