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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Arthur and the Mystery of the Egg
by Johanne Mercier
Age Range: 6-8
Whenever seven-years-old Arthur visits his grandparent’s house by the lake he always has an adventure. After Arthur discovers a white egg at the back of his grandparent’s house it is his family who make the biggest fuss. It is a mystery where it came from as there are no chickens nearby. Eccentric cousin Eugene is called upon for an ‘expert opinion’ and even the TV people are interested! Finally they have the chance to solve the greatest mystery of all time - ‘Which came first, the chicken or the egg?’
The ‘Arthur’ stories by French Canadian author Johanne Mercier are full of quirky characters and understated humour. Everything is seen through Arthur’s eyes which will appeal directly to young readers. The language is easily accessible to children but contains a degree of irony that will be enjoyed by adults too, and this is due in no small part to an excellent translation by award-winning translator Daniel Hahn. The amusing black and white illustrations by Clare Elsom help to accentuate the wit of the text.
Although each story in the series is separate many of the themes follow on to the next book so it is a good idea to start with book one - Arthur and the Mystery of the Egg. Other titles in the series are: Arthur and the Earthworms, Arthur and the Yeti and Arthur and Guard Dog.
This series of stories about Arthur are sure to become a firm favourite with any seven-year-old.