I recently took a psychedelic trip through The Weirdly World of Strange Eggs, led by the Egg-Man. Goo goo g’joob.
In Chris Reilly, Steve Ahlquist, and Jeremy Mann’s all-ages graphic novel, the mysterious Egg-Man shows up in the tree in Kip and Kelly Hatcher’s yard, speaking in verse and offering eggs that can hatch into anything the kids’ imagination can conjure. (Hatchers. Eggs. Get it?)
Kip, the boy who emanates imagination, and Kelly, his older, logical, scientific sister, take in and hatch one of the eggs. But first they debate the best way to keep the egg warm: Kelly wants to build an incubator because it’s more precise; Kip wants to sit on the egg because it’s more motherly. Kelly’s reasoning wins — but it’s the last time her scientific solutions will prevail. She builds the incubator, and Hoop is born. I have no idea what kind of creature Hoop is, but, then again, he isn’t a product of my imagination.
Hoop’s a bit of a trouble-maker. He tricks the kids and meets the Egg-Man to receive the next egg delivery. But this egg is an abomanog egg, which apparently means something abominable will hatch from it. And once this creature, Party Hat, hatches, the story just gets weird.
We have a blood-sucking Party Hat, a Willy-Wonka-like Egg-Man, fart-launched butt bats, a possessed veterinarian, and jelly. Lots and lots of jelly.
Strange Eggs, indeed. (Most peculiar, Mama!)
The kids, as you might imagine, are in over their heads. How do they corral the out-of-control Party Hat? Well, since the eggs’ creatures hatched from the children’s imaginations, the kids must use their imaginations to restore order. You can’t build a robot to conquer your demons. You need to conjure the magic of a spacegirl’s suit and follow the monster into space. Think outside the box, will ya!?
But ultimately, the head-scratching plot twists and either/or dichotomy of reason versus imagination feel heavy handed. Then again, I’m a stodgy adult, and Strange Eggs is an all-ages comic. My seven-year-old son loved this book. His favorite part: the butt bats, of course! Who better to enjoy a story about silly, bizarre imagination than my Kip-like son?
I, on the other hand, kept wanting the story to make sense, for all the pieces to fit together in an “a-ha “moment toward the end. But I suppose that’s missing the point of a story about what can happen when you let your imagination take you for a ride.