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Book Review

The Enormous Egg by Oliver Butterworth has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Twelve-year-old Nate Twitchell lives with his parents and little sister, Cynthia, in the small town of Freedom, New Hampshire. His father runs a weekly newspaper, and the family raises vegetables, chickens and a goat. When Nate discovers an egg almost as big as the hen that laid it, the family decides to see what hatches. The Christian Science Monitor hears about the 18-inch, 3.5-pound egg and publishes an article.

The egg fails to hatch in the normal chicken incubation period, and the family begins to wonder if they should give up on it. While Nate is fishing, he encounters a man named Dr. Ziemer who is staying with a local family. Nate mentions the egg, and Dr. Ziemer, who claims he is something of an egg collector, asks to see it. He’s intrigued by the egg and urges Nate to call him immediately when it hatches.

The egg hatches early one morning. Nate finds the frazzled hen next to a lizard-like creature with three knobs on its head and a jagged collar on its neck. The perplexed family calls Dr. Ziemer, who arrives in his pajamas. He tells the family he’s seen enough Triceratops skulls in his time to know that, somehow, they’ve hatched a dinosaur.

Dr. Ziemer explains he’s a paleontologist. He says when he alerts his colleagues about the dinosaur, people will begin swarming to their home. They discuss moving the dinosaur, but Nate insists he’d like to keep him. Dr. Ziemer and the family agree to prepare themselves for the impending onslaught of scientists and reporters.

Dr. Ziemer’s colleague Dr. Kennedy is one of the first to arrive. He thinks Dr. Ziemer is pulling a prank until he sees the dinosaur for himself. Nate names the creature Uncle Beasley after a relative. He and Dr. Ziemer care for Uncle Beasley’s needs and track the animal’s growth, while curious onlooker watch.

Many people — from a gas station owner to a whiskey baron to Dr. Kennedy himself — offer Nate money for the dinosaur. He refuses all proposals. When the weather begins to turn colder, Dr. Ziemer worries that a dinosaur may not be able to survive a New England winter outdoors. Nate allows Dr. Ziemer to take Uncle Beasley to the National Museum. The doctor and Nate’s parents surprise the boy by letting him go to Washington, D.C., for a month as Uncle Beasley’s caretaker.

Nate stays with the doctor and cares for the dinosaur by walking him early in the mornings. One day, a truck horn scares Uncle Beasley, and he knocks the vehicle over. No one is hurt, but Uncle Beasley is no longer allowed to live at the museum. Dr. Ziemer calls a friend at the zoo and learns there is a vacant elephant house where the dinosaur can stay.

All is well until a senator named Granderson takes notice of Uncle Beasley’s hefty food requirements. Aiming to cut government expenses on anything that’s not modern, American and essential, Senator Granderson lobbies to have the dinosaur removed from the zoo. Dr. Ziemer arranges for Nate to appear on a television program where he shares why Uncle Beasley is special and important. People start visiting the zoo in droves and raising money to feed Uncle Beasley.

When Nate’s month in D.C. is up, he returns to Freedom. The townspeople throw him a welcome-home parade. Nate and his family plan a trip to D.C. over spring break.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems


Authority Roles

Dr. Ziemer respects Nate’s desire to be near Uncle Beasley and makes arrangements for him to be involved in the dinosaur’s life. Nate’s parents encourage him to nurture the large egg and see what comes out of it. They allow him to spend a month with Dr. Ziemer in D.C. They believe the education he will gain from this experience will be worth him missing school.

Senator Granderson’s assertions are so outrageous, they’re comical. He believes anything “out-of-date” or not originally from America is a “queer” and “freakish” mistake of nature. He doesn’t even like animals from other countries, stating a person doesn’t need to see an African elephant once he sees an American one. He rants that Uncle Beasley, a creature from the past, has no place in a modern American zoo.


The Lord’s name is used in vain once.



Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

Evolution: Dr. Ziemer suggests birds and reptiles are all related to each other if you go back millions of years. He theorizes this genetic link is one possible way a dinosaur could have hatched from a chicken egg. He and other characters sometimes mention dinosaurs roaming the earth millions of years in the past.

Smoking: Several adult characters smoke cigars or cigarettes.

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

9 to 12


Oliver Butterworth; illustrations by Mark Crilley






Record Label



Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, a division of Hachette Book Group Inc.; the edition reviewed was published in 2009


On Video

Year Published





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