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Analysing picture books: Out of the Egg

Students analyse visual techniques used by Tina Matthews in her picture book ‘Out of the Egg.’ They consider the way that visual techniques position readers to respond to the characters and plot in a particular way. Students will hear from Tina and consider the message of the story and unpack the role of picture books in society. They will then compose their own sequel to the story.

Focus texts

Out of the Egg by Tina Matthews

Text Type

Picture Book

Learning intention

Students are learning to:

  • Respond to visual texts
  • Analyse the use of visual techniques in a picture book and the impact on readers
  • Understand the role of texts, such as picture books, in society
  • Write creatively

Success criteria

Students will be successful when they can:

  • Make connections between the world of the text and the real world
  • Use and understand the impact of visual techniques such as colour
  • Think creatively and critically to respond to a picture book

NSW Syllabus for the Australian Curriculum English K-10

A student:

EN4-1A responds to and composes texts for understanding, interpretation, critical analysis, imaginative expression and pleasure

EN4-5C thinks imaginatively, creatively, interpretively and critically about information, ideas and arguments to respond to and compose texts

EN4-7D demonstrates understanding of how texts can express aspects of their broadening world and their relationships within it



  • explore and appreciate the aesthetic qualities in their own and other texts and the power of language to communicate information, ideas, feelings and viewpoints
  • explore and explain the ways authors combine different modes and media in creating texts, and the impact of these choices on the viewer/listener (ACELY1735)


  • share, reflect on, clarify and evaluate opinions and arguments about aspects of literary texts (ACELT1627)
  • critically consider the ways in which meaning is shaped by context, purpose, form, structure, style, content, language choices and their own personal perspective
  • express considered points of view and arguments on areas such as sustainability and the environment accurately and coherently in speech or writing with confidence and fluency
  • critically analyse the ways experience, knowledge, values and perspectives can be represented through characters, situations and concerns in texts and how these affect responses to texts
  • discuss aspects of texts, for example their aesthetic and social value, using relevant and appropriate metalanguage (ACELT1803)


  • draw on experience to consider the ways the 'real world' is represented in the imaginary worlds of texts, including imaginative literature, film, media and multimedia texts
  • analyse how combinations of words, sound and images can create particular perspectives of the same event or issue such as environmental sustainability

Across the stage, the selection of texts must give students experience of:

  • a wide range of literary texts from other countries and times, including poetry, drama scripts, prose fiction and picture books
  • texts that include aspects of environmental and social sustainability
  • nonfiction, picture books, graphic novels


Critical and creative thinking 


Student Activities

Analysing Colour

Students analyse the use of colour to position readers to respond to the text in a particular way.

Number of set tasks: 2


Students explore the use of symbolism in the story.

Number of set tasks: 2

Representing change

Students discuss the message conveyed in ‘Out of the Egg’ before analysing the role of picture books in society.

Number of set tasks: 2

What next

Students compose a sequel to the story.

Number of set tasks: 1

Background information

Tina Matthews is an author and illustrator. Her first book, Out of the Egg, was published in 2007. It is the story of a hen, a seed and a little chick – inspired by the old story of The Little Red Hen, but with a new ending for a new generation. The illustrations were created using woodblock prints. This involves drawing the picture on paper then transferring it to a woodblock, carving the picture out of the wood, inking it, then printing it. All preliminary sketches, drafts, woodblocks and the final artworks for the illustrations are held in the State Library’s collection.

Source list for illustrations

All woodblock illustrations in this learning activity were created by Tina Matthews for the picture book 'Out of the Egg' published in 2007 by both Walker Books Australia and Houghton Mifflin Books.