Crack, crack...animal babies are hatched all over the place. Can you figure out who's who? Watercolor and collage illustrations depict close-up scenes of an egg or eggs about to hatch. The text hints at what the eggs contain: "Hidden in a rock cave/ Deep beneath the ocean waves/ Their mother wraps her long arms around/ To keep these eggs safe and sound." The observant young nature lover will find a visual clue of what animal the mother might be. The next spread provides the answer-in this case, it's an octopus. The second spread also provides fascinating facts about the species. The book features a number of species ranging from spiders to penguins to octopuses, and the back matter provides more information about the actual size of various eggs and how they develop.
More than just chickens come from eggs, as Posada (Ladybugs) explains. In fact, all kinds of critters from spiders to penguins to octopuses begin life as hatchlings. The repeated refrain, "Can you guess what is growing inside this egg?" pairs with a simple riddle-in-verse, prompting readers to identify various creatures. "This egg sits snugly on its father's feet./ He warms it with his body's heat./ Under his feathered belly, it's cozy and warm./ Safe from the icy Antarctic storm." Although the eggs are presented up close, visual clues often a glimpse of a nearby animal parent provide helpful hints. (Here, the answer should be clear to any fans of March of the Penguins or Happy Feet.) A page turn reveals the answer, as well as a more expansive view of the animals' habitats and some prose factoids ("You can actually see the baby octopuses inside their eggs!"). Posada's paint and collage pictures are sumptuous in both texture and color; she beautifully evokes the furriness of a penguin's belly and the mounded dirt and sticks of an alligator's swampy nest. Even if the guessing may come easily, children will certainly learn a great deal about some youngsters of the animal kingdom. Ages 5-9.