How Fletcher Was Hatched! by Wende and Harry Devlin, 1969.

Fletcher the dog is sad and upset because it seems like his owner, Alexandra, is forgetting about him. She’s been playing with the new baby chicks, which she thinks are cute, and she’s been forgetting to pet her dog or even fill his water bowl!

Distressed, Fletcher goes to see his friends, Beaver and Otter, at the pond. Beaver and Otter don’t have human owners, so they don’t understand Fletcher’s feelings about Alexandra, but they try to think of ways to get her attention. They think it would help if Fletcher could make himself more like the chicks Alexandra has been obsessed with. Aince he can’t make himself small and yellow, they decide that he should hatch out of an egg, like the chicks do. Fletcher is skeptical about this plan, but Beaver and Otter think that hatching out of an egg will be like having a new beginning in his relationship with Alexandra.

Beaver and Otter build an egg around Fletcher with reeds, grass, and clay from the river, leaving a little hole so they can give Fletcher water and food. When they’re done, it’s a very convincing but giant egg.

By the time they’re finished, it’s night. Fletcher is uncomfortable sleeping in the egg and wonders what Alexandra is doing. Meanwhile, Alexandra is having trouble sleeping because she’s worried about her lost dog.

In the morning, Beaver and Otto roll the egg over to Alexandra’s school to make sure that she sees it. The first person who sees the egg, though, is the school’s custodian. He’s shocked at the sight of such a giant egg and starts yelling for the science teacher to come look at it.

Soon, the egg is surrounded by children and adults, marveling over what kind of it could be and where it came from. The science teacher brings a friend who is a university professor, and the two of them are convinced that the egg must belong to a rare creature, although they disagree about the type of creature it is.

Fletcher waits to hatch until he hears Alexandra. Alexandra’s friends are excited about the egg, but she’s just upset and only wants to go looking for her lost dog.

Fletcher decides it’s time to hatch, and he busts his way out of the egg. Alexandra is happy to see him, even though Fletcher’s attempt at peeping is a little weak. Everyone is confused, but Alexandra is just relieved that she has her dog back. Fletcher feels better, realizing that he is important to Alexandra, and she really cares about him, even though he’s not yellow and doesn’t peep.

The book is available to borrow and read for free online through Internet Archive.

My Reaction

I read this book as a kid, but I had forgotten much of the story. I remembered that Fletcher hatched out of an artificial egg and that he did it to get his owner’s attention, but I couldn’t remember why he needed attention. I can understand Alexandra being temporarily distracted by the little chicks on the farm, but forgetting to give her dog water is really bad for a pet owner. I felt like her parents should have noticed and said something. But, mostly, the situation is just set up for the purposes of this humorous hatching of a dog from a giant egg. Because the egg was created by animals, the humans in the story never find out how or why Fletcher got in the egg, which is actually the funniest part for me as an adult.

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