What's in the Egg, Little Pip?

Image of What's in the Egg, Little Pip?
Release Date: 
December 20, 2010
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Reviewed by: 

What is Pip up to now? Karma Wilson’s somewhat ruffled, always exploring, and lovable young character wonders what the big deal is with an egg. She still wanted to be the baby and this new egg keeps getting in the way. It replaces her in the warm, snuggling place between her parent’s feet, and competes for her parents’ attention. What’s up with that? Early in the story Pip voices a simple but relatable: “Nobody cares about me. . . .”

Wilson combines a familiar family dynamic with the lovable character of Pip to easily gain the reader’s sympathy. Through Pip, young children anticipating the birth of a sibling can find a kindred spirit and opportunities to discuss their conflicting feelings with caring adults who share the story. They can relate to the various stages between rejection and acceptance and all the bumps and misunderstandings along the way. To add a sense of stability and comfort, Wilson weaves a rhyming song throughout—one whose words change with Pip’s mood.

Instead of telling a young listener or reader about how they “should act” in light of this life-changing event, Wilson assures through always-caring parents who impart their understanding of a strong, growing family that everything will be all right. The potential for interaction between reader and listener in this delightful tale is what classic picture books are all about—it’s bigger than the book.

Illustrator Jane Chapman adds backdrops of delightful yellows and blues and purples to reflect the story line’s rise to climax and resolution. Her use of body language in her art strengthens Wilson’s careful selection of vocabulary and enriches the characters. Before we know it, “the egg has broken!” What will Pip think? Will she be ready?

Karma Wilson, best known for her Bear series, addresses in this newest title the timeless issue of anticipation and acceptance of a new baby in the family with the charming story of Pip the Penguin. She reflects the changes a youngster moves through during the incubation process and makes it relatable to the 9-month gestation that seems for young children to last forever. Pip becomes the big sister, changing before the readers’ eyes, and leads us all to believe that this new addition to the family is going to “feel just right.”