In the beginning, there is an egg. Which may become a baby bird, except if it becomes a baby snake instead. Except if the baby snake is really truly a dinosaur
In this young, clever, and whimsical picture book in the spirit of Not a Box and First the Egg, an egg is not just an egg, but a symbol of the potential a child's imagination holds. As each image melds smoothly, but unexpectedly, into the next, readers are invited to stretch the limits of their imagination.
"Averbeck plays contrarian in this fun exercise that defies narrative assumption.... It’s a concept that starts cleverly and then, almost sneakily, warms the heart."
— BOOKLIST, December 1, 2010
"Averbeck (In a Blue Room) explores the idea of expectations in this short, sweet, philosophical speculation.... Even very young readers will find they've succeeded in following a rather convoluted piece of reasoning, clause by clause and picture by picture; it's a book in which the action unfolds in the mind as much as it does on the page."
--Publishers Weekly, November 22, 2010
"There’s a quiet tenderness to Averbeck’s prose that blends gracefully with the gentle humor of the bumbling critters and engages the audience in predicting the answer to “What comes next?”
--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, January 2011
"With winsomely simple text and illustrations, this picture book is less a story than a convergence of fanciful possibilities.... Reminiscent of favorites like Mike Lester’s A Is for Salad (Putnam, 2000) and George Shannon’s Tomorrow’s Alphabet (Greenwillow, 1996), Except If is an entertaining, intriguing mental adventure."
-SLJ February 2011
"In this deceptively simple yet delightful tale, an egg is an egg. And that egg will become a baby bird … except if it becomes a baby snake instead.... Harkening back to Remy Charlip’s classic Fortunately (1964) and, more recently, to Laura Vaccaro Seeger’s First the Egg (2007), Averbeck proves that he, too, grasps the incredible power of the page turn.... The existential question posed holds huge potential for organized classroom exercise and solo flights of fancy alike. With heavy, smudgy lines, flat, muted tones and adorable creatures, Averbeck (In a Blue Room, 2008, illustrated by Tricia Tusa) makes his illustrative debut. All the while, he demonstrates that things are often what they seem … except if, of course, they are not."
- KIRKUS, December 15, 2010