The cover illustration depicts a kitchen counter, where an oversized, green egg is sitting in an egg carton. It is cracked open, and yellow slime is pouring out of it. Tim Jacobus’ signature is found on the side of the carton.
WHICH CAME FIRST, THE MONSTER OR THE EGG?
An egg hunt. That's what Dana Johnson's bratty little sister, Brandy, wants to have at her birthday party. And whatever Brandy wants, Brandy gets. Dana's not big on egg hunts. But that was before he found The Egg. It's not like a normal egg. It's about the size of a softball. It's covered with ugly blue and purple veins. And it's starting to hatch...
Dana Johnson is constantly annoyed by his younger sister, Brandy. Worst of all, his parents give Brandy everything she wants. When Brandy demands an egg hunt in honor of her birthday and Easter, the Johnson family hosts an egg hunt for Brandy and her friends. Dana and his friend, Anne, decide to join the hunt. While searching, Dana finds a very peculiar egg; it is pale green, with large veins lining the sides. The other party-goers discover that the eggs they're collecting aren't hard boiled. Kids begin throwing raw eggs, and the party ends prematurely.
Dana goes to his room and hides the egg in his drawer, but he's so busy that he doesn't have time to thoroughly study it. When Dana tries to go to sleep, he hears a thumping sound. When Dana investigates, he finds that the egg is pulsating. Dana falls asleep regardless, and he wakes up to a cracking sound. The egg hatches, and a yellow, blob creature comes out. Dana wants to show his parents, but they're already gone when he wakes up. Dana piles the creature into a shoe box.
Eventually, Dana decides to take the creature to the scientific laboratory in town. When Dana gets to the lab, he's greeted by a man named Dr. Gray. The scientist takes Dana into the lab, and Dana shows him the creature he's found. Dr. Gray explains that the creature is one of many that came from Mars and fell to Earth. Dr. Gray brings Dana into a cold room. The room contains numerous other egg monsters. Dr. Gray explains that the creatures melt if it gets too hot, so they need to be in a cold environment. Dana is then told he won't be allowed to leave. Dr. Gray wants to study the boy, worrying that he may have been exposed to alien germs or diseases. Dr. Gray locks Dana in the cold room. Dana eventually falls asleep.
Dana wakes up to the sound of his father's voice. Dr. Gray tells Mr. Johnson that his son never stopped by. Dana tries to call out, but his father can't hear him. Dr. Gray reveals that the room that Dana is in is sound-proofed, and Dana was only able to his father through the laboratory's sound system. Dr Gray leaves. The room Dana is in is so cold that Dana begins to feel numb. Dana begins shouting frantically. Suddenly, the egg monsters form a giant wall and roll onto Dana, covering his body. Dana begins to feel warm.
The next morning, Dr. Gray wakes Dana up and blames Dana for merging the egg monsters into a blanket. He throws the creatures against a wall, and the creatures make pained noises. Dr. Gray accuses Dana of trying to destroy his work. The scientist says that he wanted to keep Dana alive, but that he sees that is no longer possible. Dr. Gray says he will make the room so cold that it will freeze Dana. Dr. Gray opens the door and starts to leave, but the blanket of egg monsters jumps onto him. Dana sees an opportunity to leave, and he runs away. Dana goes home and he takes his father back to the lab. When Dana and his parents arrive, Dana finds that the egg monsters and Dr. Gray are gone.
Dana goes home. Upon his parents suggestion, Dana is visited by a doctor. After lying in bed for a while, Dana goes outside. He feels incredibly happy. Unexpectedly, he crouches down on Anne's lawn and lays a massive egg.
Reprints and rereleases
2003 - 2007 reprint series
- In the French edition, this is the seventieth book in the series.
- Dana is called "Cliff."
- The last sentence of the book, where Dana lays an egg, is omitted completely.
The original printings of the book included bookmark and trading card tear-outs.
- Dana and Brandy's father was mentioned by name in this book: Clark Johnson.
- According to It Came from New Jersey!, this is one of Jacobus' favorite covers because he thinks it's scary to mix something ordinary -- like a carton of eggs -- with something really creepy, like the slimy egg monster. "You don't expect to see the monster there, and it adds to the surprise."
- This book references American Girl dolls, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Battle Chess.
- The Battle Chess reference is removed in the 2018 ebook, it is simply referred to as a "new video game." This results in an error, as there there is no quotation mark after "game."
- The back-cover tagline is a reference to the thought experiment, "Which came first: the chicken or the egg?"
- R.L. Stine said on Twitter that this was his favorite book to write, as it takes place in only 2 scenes.
References in other Goosebumps media
- In the 2008 video game Goosebumps HorrorLand, this book's cover art is used for one of the monster cards that can be collected in the game.