Brandenberg, A. (1969). The eggs. New York, NY: Pantheon Books.
Aliki’s The Eggs is a retelling of a classic, Greek folktale. As the traditional story goes, a hungry ship captain one days docks his boat and has a meal of four eggs at a local inn. While he is eating a storm begins to stir, and the captain is forced to run to his boat without paying for his meal. After 6 years at sea the captain feels guilty for his unpaid debt; he returns to the inn to pay for his meal. What he fins at the inn however, is shocking to him. The inn keeper demands the man pay 500 dollars for his unpaid meal; this will certainly mean the captain will lose his beloved boat. The inn keeper’s argument is that with the 4 eggs the man ate, he could have saved them and let them hatch instead; he complains that he could have had a whole farm full of chickens right now if the original 4 eggs would have been allowed to multiply! Their dispute goes to court, and the captain’s lawyer makes a strong argument. Fried eggs can not hatch any more than cooked beans can sprout and grow if planted in the soil. The captain is allowed to keep his boat, and the lesson is learned to not try to cheat other people. This is an enjoyable read because it gives the reader a taste of Greek culture and literature. Many children in America are familiar with Aesop’s Fables, but introducing them to the moral lessons of other cultures shows the reader what values are held by other groups of people. This is a great lesson not only in morality but multiculturalism as well. I truly believe one of the greatest ways to share and explore unique cultures is through the participation in its art and literature; Aliki’s The Eggs brings its reader in contact with the culture, tradition, and literature of Greece.