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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Edgar's Second Word, written by Audrey Vernick and illustrated by Priscilla Burris. Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Thomas Allen & Son. 2014. $21.99 ages 5 and up

"Then - finally - it happened!
Edgar said his first word!
Mom reached for the Baby Book.
Hazel cheered.
Then Edgar said his first word
He said it with force.
With meaning.
With conviction!


I was thrilled to see that Audrey Vernick had written a book about a young girl, and her anticipation for her brother's arrival. She knows just what she will do...she will read to him. She practices with her bunny Rodrigo. That doesn't provide much satisfaction. When Edgar finally arrives, she is delighted, and perplexed:

"But Edgar wasn't much different from Rodrigo.
Or a pillow.
Or a watermelon."

Again, she waits. When Edgar's first word is a resounding NO!, Hazel can only hope that things will get better. They are on their way to communicating. NO! is used many times daily, and often with no seeming concern for expanding his vocabulary. Hazel has patience, and is willing to wait. But, she is a tiny bit frustrated by it all:

"She had waited forever for Edgar.
Then another forever for Edgar to talk.
"It's not sweet if he's grouchy," Hazel muttered.
"And mean. And angry sounding. And growly."

She doesn't give in to her feelings of frustration. She keeps smiling and trying over and over again. Finally, while reading him a bedtime story one night, Hazel hears what she has been waiting forever to hear.

Priscilla Burris' warm and captivating illustrations were executed digitally. The many details of family life (including Baby Edgar sticking his finger up his sister's nose) will entertain young readers as the book is shared repeatedly. Edgar is obviously adamant in his use of the word NO! with wide open mouth, closed eyes and humorous antics filling the pages. Kids are going to love this book. Parents and caregivers will appreciate the action, the imagination and the final, heartwarming result of sibling patience and understanding.

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