Analysing picture books: Out of the egg

Learning Activity
Schools & Teachers
Stage 4
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.

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

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:
a green seedling growing in dry cracked earth. A red feather floats beside the seedling


Students explore the use of symbolism in the story.

Number of set tasks:
A red hen in a black and white landscape

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:
A red chick and red chicken standing face to face on a green background

What next

Students compose a sequel to the story.

Number of set tasks:
A red hen in a green landscape

NSW Syllabus for the Australian Curriculum English K-10

A student:

  • EN4-RVL-01 uses a range of personal, creative and critical strategies to read texts that are complex in their ideas and construction 
  • EN4-URA-01 analyses how meaning is created through the use of and response to language forms, features and structures 
  • EN4-ECB-01 uses processes of planning, monitoring, revising and reflecting to support and develop composition of texts 

A student will:


  • Explore the main ideas and thematic concerns posed by a text for meaning 
  • Engage with the ways texts contain layers of meaning, or multiple meanings 
  • Understand the ways reading helps us understand ourselves and make connections to others and to the world 


  • Use appropriate metalanguage to describe how meaning is constructed through linguistic and stylistic elements in texts 
  • Understand how language forms, features and structures, in a variety of texts, vary according to context, purpose and audience, and demonstrate this understanding through written, spoken, visual and multimodal responses 
  • Analyse how figurative language and devices can represent ideas, thoughts and feelings to communicate meaning 


  • Engage with the features and structures of model texts to plan and consider implications for own text creation 
  • Reflect on own composition of texts, using appropriate technical vocabulary to explain choices of language and structure in line with the target audience and intended purpose 
  • Describe the pleasures, challenges and successes experienced in the processes of understanding and composing texts 
  • Consider how purposeful compositional choices are influenced by specific elements of model texts 

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 


Focus texts

Out of the Egg by Tina Matthews

Text Type

Picture Book

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.