A child learns that nurturing an egg takes a lot of care and patience.
Hiding out in a henhouse, young Lena gets an excellent view (as do readers) of an egg being laid, and when the hen wanders off, Lena carries it into the house. A few moments later, the egg is on the floor in pieces! Lena’s mom briskly explains that not all eggs hatch anyway, and aside from leaving them to the hen, the best way to care for them is with an incubator. Lena’s family pitches in to build one…and then comes the long, 21-day wait. Tharlet mostly leaves Lena and the rest of the pale-skinned human family out of the lively, close-up illustrations, focusing instead on the humorously knowing-looking hens and on the egg in the incubator, drawn by Lena on a day-by-day calendar decorated with a face and being properly turned. At the appointed time (“This is it!!”), a small crack gets longer and longer, until the shell at last falls away to reveal a cute, fuzzy, larger-than-life chick: “so soft, so sweet—what a wonder!” Being more about that wonder than embryonic development or chicken husbandry, the episode ends with Lena carrying the chick outside to join fellow hatchlings clustered around a welcoming hen, but a URL points to directions for constructing a simple incubator.
A cozy episode with a little instruction and a lot of excitement. (Picture book. 4-6)