The concept born within the pages of J. Marc Schmidt’s Egg Story, about an egg that becomes a ninja, immediately grabbed me when I first heard of the book. It took me a little while to get my hands on a copy as the couple of comic stores I visited either hadn’t heard of the book or had sold out of it. The book is inexpensive enough but the added shipping charges doubled the cost of the book. I could quibble with the simple but bland cover image but after reading the story contained within, it would be pointless complaint. Especially when I considered what that would do—make the consumer think (s)he is getting something the interior artwork doesn’t represent. I think that could wrongly color readers’ impression of the more touching aspects of the story. Speaking of color, the egg yolk color of the book wasn’t something I “got” until I read it.
My critical nitpicks aside, this story of a family of eggs that is split up delves into one of those unanswerable questions of the universe—“Why is the world such a terrible place?” As with my review of Owly from a few weeks ago, reviewing a book like this without revealing major plot aspects is near impossible. The protagonist egg featured on the cover is Feather and his sister is named Five-Spots. Feather wasn’t angry like he was drawn on the cover, but the happiness of Five-Spots is a constant throughout the book. She brings a necessary light-heartedness to balance some of the unexpected tragedies that occur during this slice of life story about these two eggs.
My second read of this 64-page book revealed deeper insights beyond the superficial ideas presented. The anger of the woman who purchases the eggs is particularly noticeable. The idea of love not being realized because of “maturity” factors is presented in a totally unique way. I thought the ending was nice but left open the scary possibilities that life seems to surprise us all with.
Simple grid artwork helps soften the depths of the unfair world and taking control of those elements given to you. The opening scenes of Egg Story take place in the farmhouse and were very reminiscent of the 1995 film Babe, which has been a favorite of mine since its opening day. The difficulty of job seeking and the horrors of receiving an outrageous credit card bill in the mail are also fodder included for a more sophisticated reader. But, the simple truths hidden within this book make it an ideal gift for yourself or a friend who might feel ground down by this not-so-friendly world.
Plus, the ninja egg uses a samurai sword and shurikens! If that image doesn’t bring a smile to your face, you can just stop reading. But it’s doubtful that you’ll want to stop reading this delightful little story.