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 AAAS Book Talks 

A Conversation with Diana Aston & Sylvia Long

SB&F editor, Heather Malcomson, talks with Diana Aston and Sylvia Long about their SB&F Prize winning science book An Egg Is Quiet

Listen to the episode



About the Author

Dianna Aston lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where she is learning the science of hot-air ballooning and plans to get her pilot's license. She grew up in Houston, where she remembers the only wildlife as cockroaches, sparrows, and frogs. Once she moved into a rural area outside of Austin, Texas (after receiving her degree in journalism/political science), she began noticing birds, raccoons, armadillos, coyotes, snakes, deer, horny toads, etc... She believes we can learn, or re-learn, harmony-the natural rhythm of the world-by studying the natural world.

She has two children, James and Lizzie, who are the most fascinating creatures of all.

Her previous books include When You Were Born, Loony Little, and Bless This Mouse. Her latest book is entitled A Seed Is Sleepy.

About the Illustrator

Sylvia Long's first children's book, Ten Little Rabbits, launched her children's book career and quickly won her a loyal and enthusiastic following.

"After I finished my first children's book, I realized that's what I should have been doing all along. Books reach so many people and actually influence them. It feels really good."
Ms. Long graduated from Maryland Institute of Art and has exhibited her paintings extensively for the past twenty years. She lives in Arizona with her dog, Amigo, and near her two sons, Matthew and John.

When she was younger, she spent hours creating cards for her parents and doodling in her notebooks. She feels art is an important aspect of education and that children should be encouraged to express themselves visually, without criticism. Too often, she feels, art and music are viewed as "playtime" and children are not encouraged to take it seriously.

"Being an illustrator is a wonderful, fulfilling career, and children should be aware that it is an option in life. I think it's a shame that art is not a bigger part of our culture. We all can learn a lot through art."

SB&F Review
An Egg is Quiet

The title of this book is the first sentence of what passes for a story line, which ends with "an egg is noisy!" accompanied by a drawing of hatchlings of the "quiet" egg illustrated on the first page. In between, some characteristics of eggs are noted (e. g., they are colorful and textured), and adaptations, such as being speckled or "pointy," are briefly explained. The hand lettered text is richly garnished by over 100 ink and watercolor illustrations of eggs (and many of the adults that produce them) of a rather eclectic array of species, all identified by common names. As is to be expected, birds make up the majority of the animals pictured, but insects, crustaceans, fish, reptiles, and amphibians are represented as well. No part of the book has gone unillustrated; even the front and rear endpapers are decorated with the shell pattern of one of the eggs. This book is visually pleasing, educational, and utilitarian-destined to be a "keeper" in many homes. A child who might have had it read to him or her as a preschooler could use it several years later to identify an unknown egg found on a field trip.