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*Edwin Speaks Up* by April Stevens, illustrated by Sophie Blackall 
Also by April Stevens:

Waking Up Wendell
Also illustrated by Sophie Blackall:

A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat

Ivy + Bean

Ivy + Bean and the Ghost That Had to Go (Book 2)

Ivy + Bean Break the Fossil Record (Book 3)
Edwin Speaks Up
by April Stevens, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Ages 4+ 40 pages Schwartz and Wade June 2011 Hardcover    

In Edwin Speaks UpMrs. Finnemore bundles her five ferret children off into the car and heads to the local food shop. On her list of items is an important ingredient for Baby Edwin’s birthday cake–sugar. But Mrs.Finnemore is distracted by her children as they wrestle and argue and later knocks cans all over the floor of the store.

Despite Baby Edwin’s protests—“Figbutton noo noo POCKY BOOKY froppin ROOF” —Mrs. Finnemore leaves her handbag on the roof of the car. Later, Baby Edwin complains “Gloody pooper do no LEAVEY” when his mother walks away pushing the wrong shopping cart.

But no one is listening to Edwin. Finally, when it looks like they are all going to leave the store without remembering the sugar, Edwin stops protesting and springs into action.

Edwin Speaks Up is a comforting and tender look at a mother’s close and loving relationship with her children, highlighting things that can go wrong but how the consistently calm and gentle mother moves through each moment without too much disturbance. Author April Stevens effectively captures how, although no one understands Baby Edwin, he is acutely aware of everything going on around him and speaks up to try and help out, until he is forced to take matters into his own hands.

The crisp illustrations set against soothing pastel-colored backgrounds highlight 1960s-era clothing, hairdos and cars, lending a sense of cool, serene nostalgia to this funny and sometimes chaotic story of misunderstandings and mishaps. Baby Edwin, with his black and white circles around his eyes and little striped pajamas, is an adorable little ferret child, and his attempts to communicate are hilarious.

Edwin Speaks Up is a great read aloud book for children ages 4 to 8 years and sure to inspire audience response. Five stars.

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  Maya Fleischmann/2012 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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