When my friend from Kinderbookwitheverything and I talk about picture books we often exclaim about particular authors and illustrators. One of these is Helme Heine. A book we both love is The most wonderful egg in the world or Das schonete Ei der Welt in German. This book is not on my Tuesday Treasure list but it is truly a treasure. I just made an exciting discovery. If the Wikipedia is up to date the entry on Helme Heine (born in Germany) says he now lives in New Zealand. In 1982 his book Superhare was an IBBY Honour book.
"What you can do is more important that what you look like,'
said the King. 'Whichever one of you lays the most wonderful egg
I will make a princess."
I love the words - what you can do is more important than what you look like!
Once upon a time three hens called Dotty, Stalky and Plumy, were quarreling about which of them was the most beautiful. They decide to ask the King to settle the matter. Dotty lays a perfect egg, shimmering and polished like marble. Stalky lays an enormous egg, one of the biggest the King has ever seen but it is Plumy who astonishes everyone. The King is unable to choose a winner and so he declares all three hens should be made princesses.
Here is a set of discussion questions for The Most Wonderful egg in the world.
Here are some books by Helme Heine. Nearly all are sadly out of print but you might be lucky and find one or two in a school library. The Pigs Wedding and The Pearl were part of a book series called Pocket Puffins. You might also find the Weston Woods videos of The Pigs Wedding and of The most wonderful egg in the world. Here are the teaching notes which can be used with the animated film.