Cover image for P. Zonka lays an egg
P. Zonka lays an egg
First edition.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Reading Level:
AD 500 L Lexile
"All of the chickens in the farmyard lay eggs regularly-- all except for P. Zonka, that is. She's too busy looking at the colors of the world around her. The other chickens think P. Zonka's just lazy...until she lays the most beautiful egg they've ever seen"--


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book EASY PAS 1 2
Book EASY PAS 1 1
Book EASY PAS 1 1
Book EASY PAS 1 3
Book EASY PAS 1 1

On Order



Extraordinary hen P. Zonka spends her time taking in the beauty around her: the shiny green of the grass, the buttery yellows of the dandelions, the deep blue of the sky. The other hens can't understand why she never lays eggs like they do. Finally, P. Zonka gives in and lays an egg. To everyone's delight, she produces a wondrous egg that contains all the colors and designs that she has stored in her creative imagination

Author Notes

Julie Paschkis
Grew up in Pennsylvania and attended Cornell University and the School for American Craftsmen at RIT, where she earned a BFA. Julie, a former elementary school art teacher, now works full-time painting, creating commercial illustrations, and illustrating children's books. Some of her books include Albert the Fix-It Man; Where Is Catkin?; Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella ; and Yellow Elephant: A Bright Bestiary . She lives in Washington.

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

All of the chickens on the farm are efficient, regular egg-layers: "Maud laid one egg every day. Dora laid an egg every other day. Nadine always laid exactly five eggs a week." The only exception (other than Gloria, who "turned out to be a rooster") is henhouse romantic P. Zonka. Why won't she lay eggs? "Because of the pale mornings, the soft dark moss, the stripes on the crocuses, the orange cat with one blue eye, the shining center of the dandelion, the sky at midnight," she rhapsodizes about her farmyard surroundings. When P. Zonka finally does lay an egg, it's as extraordinary as its poetic creator ("There were patterns of sun yellow, grass green, tulip red. There were blues as bright as day and blues as dark as midnight"). Paschkis's (Apple Cake) curling lines form floral patterns, chicken feathers, and rooster plumes, evoking the decorations on Ukrainian pysanky Easter eggs, which she describes in an endnote (and which give P. Zonka her name). A lyrical and lushly illustrated allegory about creativity and taking time to notice beauty. Ages 4-8. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

Have you ever wondered where the tradition of those beautiful Ukrainian pysanky comes from? Paschkis presents one possibility. She spins an old-timey tale about five chickens -- Maud, Dora, Nadine, Gloria, and P. Zonka -- two of whom do not lay eggs. It turns out that Gloria is a rooster. But P. Zonka frustrates the other chickens, who wonder why she is not doing her duty. She is dismissed as a dreamer, more concerned with flowers, clouds, and the colors of the sky. Cajoled into trying to lay an egg, P. Zonka finally succeeds, but her egg surprises everyone. This is no ordinary egg! The egg she produces contains all the colors and shapes she sees in nature: sun yellow, grass green, tulip red, and "blues as bright as day and blues as dark as midnight." Paschkis's watercolors are filled with repeated patterns and a beautiful use of black outlines. Some pages contain brightly colored backgrounds while on others, colors pop off bright white backgrounds. One especially stunning double-page spread (on which P. Zonka tells the poetic story of why she does not lay eggs) is bathed in blue; the text box is egg-shaped, and the whole spread is bordered on each side with trees and plants that form an oval. P. Zonka's lesson is gently delivered: take time to produce something you will be proud of. robin smith (c) Copyright 2015. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

P. Zonka is a unique sort of hen. The other hens, though, find her frustrating and deplore her refusal to lay eggs. After all, that's what hens do! Instead, P. Zonka gazes at the sky and exclaims in wonder at the colors of the grass and tulips. At the hens' insistence, she agrees to try to lay an egg, but the egg she produces is not of the typical variety: There were patterns of sun yellow, grass green, tulip red. There were blues as bright as day and blues as dark as midnight. This ranks along books such as Leo Lionni's Frederick (1968) that celebrate artistic dreaminess over conformity and remind us that good things are worth waiting for. Vibrant watercolors pull our attention to nature's beauty the way P. Zonka sees it: spectacular! In a brief endnote, the author-illustrator explains her inspiration: a Ukrainian tradition of decorating eggs called pysanky.--Chaudhri, Amina Copyright 2015 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-While other hens lay eggs regularly and the rooster crows encouragement, P. Zonka wanders through the farmyard observing the world around her. The hen marvels at the grass and sky and urges her friends to appreciate the flowers. After they persuade her to try to lay an egg, she produces a spectacular multicolored creation, incorporating patterns that she has seen and imagined. The artistic chicken's name is no accident. An author's note explains that a pysanka is a Ukrainian decorated egg. Vibrant watercolor illustrations bring to mind folk-art decor and Chagall paintings. They burst from the pages to draw viewers in to share P. Zonka's delight with the colors and patterns of her world. The oversize format lends itself to read-aloud participation with follow-up decoration of real or paper eggs. Although Paschkis does not mention the tie of pysanka to Easter, those who want to make the connection to another culture's Easter egg painting could also use Katherine Milhous's The Egg Tree, the 1951 Caldecott winner. VERDICT A first-rate selection for most collections.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University Library, Mankato (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Hen P. Zonka annoys the other chickens in the yard: Instead of laying eggs, she spends her time carefully observing, and marveling at, the natural world around her. At the start, readers learn the egg-laying habits of hens Maud, Dora and Nadine. Only Gloria is exempt from egg-laying expectations, "because he turned out to be a rooster. It was his job and he did it well." When the other hens press P. Zonka to explain why she won't lay an egg, a particularly vibrant double-page spread illustrates her poetic list of reasons: "I will tell you why," it opens, ending with, "the orange cat with one blue eye, the shining center of a dandelion, the sky at midnight." Unconvinced, her feathered cohorts pressure P. Zonka to at least try to lay an egg, and she finally doeswith a result that surprises and delights everyone. Every page turn reveals a stunning new composition of fowls with personality, baskets of eggs and floral design elements evocative ofof coursethe beautiful folk art found on a Ukrainian decorated egg, also known as a pysanka. Even those who do not appreciate the play on words are sure to enjoy this tale of the dividends of daydreaming, beautifully enhanced by colors and designs that shout "Spring!" to a winter-weary world. Charming, unusual and sure to induce smiles. (author's note) (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.