Reading Rockets recommends the following books by Pamela Duncan Edwards.
Barefoot: Escape on the Underground Railroad
A young boy's flight to freedom is shown from the animal's point of view in darkly hued, evocative illustrations. The animals reveal what the boy needs to know along the way – frogs point to fresh water, a mouse shows edible berries – until he emerges and is shown walking toward a safe house on the Underground Railroad. Text and illustration impart a taut, nocturnal journey.
Boston Tea Party
The basics of the events that led up to the Boston Tea Party in 1773 are revealed gradually, building through the familiar cadence of "The House That Jack Built." Rhyming text and realistic illustrations successfully introduce the event that preceded the Revolutionary War. Small Colonial and English mice appear on each page, adding humor and a touch of information to this otherwise straightforward, clearly illustrated historical book.
Bravo, Livingstone Mouse
Livingstone Mouse discovers that the woodland creatures just don't have the rhythm needed for an effective musical performance. Even though he's told to mind his own business, he puts a band together and makes it all work. The adventures of this mouse-explorer, first introduced in Livingstone Mouse (HarperCollins, 1996), are told and illustrated with humor and verve.
After her mother lays the egg, Clara becomes a plain caterpillar and then, predictably, a plain butterfly. Her homely color, however, camouflages Clara and allows her to become a hero by saving her once-haughty friend from a hungry crow. Butterfly fact and utter imagination combine in this winning tale of courage and contentedness.
Dinorella: A Prehistoric Fairy Tale
In this rendition of the classic fairy tale, the Cinderella role is played by — you guessed it — a dinosaur! Her Fairydactyl comes to the rescue and dresses our heroine, a big fuchsia dinosaur, in a prom gown. And while you're reading about how Dinorella dazzles the Duke at the Dinosaur Dance, children will be learning about the sound /d/ makes.
Four Famished Foxes and Fosdyke
While their mother vacations in Florida, Fosdyke's siblings forage for food like typical foxes. Since the fowl on the farm have been warned, the results are disastrous. Meantime back at home, Fosdyke prepares tasty vegetarian dishes, which everyone ultimately enjoys together. Animated illustrations are perfectly suited to the fast, funny, and alliterative text; the letter F is well represented!
Honk! The Story of a Prima Swanerina
When Mimi the Swan sees ballet practice from the window of the Paris Opera House, she becomes obsessed with ballet. Though she tries to attend a performance, she is not allowed into the opera house. She finally follows a tardy dancer into the theater and gets her big break: Mimi becomes the star in none other than "Swan Lake!" The wry humor is conveyed in both text and witty illustrations in this appealing, comical story.
Roar! A Noisy Counting Book
A little lion cub cannot understand why no one, from 1 red monkey to 8 brown gazelles, wants to play with him. His roar is not frightening to the 9 yellow lion cubs he meets, however, and the ROAR of 10 playful lions sends all the animals stampeding away! The rhythmic text with the repeated "roar" encourages participation as children follow the energetic, gently humorous illustrations and explore animal habitats as well as numbers and colors.
The Leprechaun's Gold
Old Pat is on his way to a contest that will name the finest harpist in all of Ireland. On the way, his ill-spirited companion, Young Tom, begins to scheme for his own victory. But thanks to Old Pat's willingness to come to the aid of a fellow traveler, a mischievous leprechaun intervenes, ensuring that both Pat and Tom are appropriately repaid for their actions.
One warm Wednesday morning, the sun winked through Wombat's window and woke her up. "What a wonderful day to wander the world," she thought. What if Wombat woke one Wednesday with wanderlust? What if she wrangled her wander-worthy companions – Weasel and Woodchuck – to wend their way through the world with her? What if the world, the woods, and its wicked things wrestled with their wishes for wild adventure? But what if these wily wanderers used their wits to ward off worries and all the world's wild creatures? Why, then it would be a most wonderful day to wander the world.
Nocturnal animals wake up as everyone else goes to sleep. Illustrations show their nighttime activities illuminated by moonlight while the gently rhyming text creates a soothing rhythm. Filled with movement, all of which starts with wake-up kisses, this is a comfortable and comforting story to be shared at bedtime.
Warthogs in the Kitchen: A Sloppy Counting Book
As they make cupcakes, a group of messy warthogs count to ten then eat their work and end with zero. Energetic, cartoon-like illustrations and a lively, rhyming text result in a slapstick comedy that may inspire an attempt to try one of the recipes included.
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