Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Having His Say: Edgar's Second Word by Audrey Vernick

The books Hazel planned to read to her some-day brother waited on a special shelf.

Every night, she imagined the warm-love weight of him on her lap, and how they'd study each page together.

When Edgar came along, Hazel celebrated.

But Edgar is a disappointment to his verbal big sister. He doesn't even study the pages of her picture books. He just grunts. He certainly doesn't talk about her beloved books.

Then--Edgar said his first word. ....with force.... with meaning.


It's not what Hazel had hoped for. No matter what she suggests--playing school or farm or with her toy bunny--Hazel gets the same answer. NO!

Mom suggests a diversionary visit to Hazel's favorite place, the LIBRARY! Does Edgar want new books? Does he want to play with the puzzles?


A librarian fainted.

Back home, Hazel tries selling Edgar on a nonverbal picnic. But Edgar is a man of his word. His ONE word. He even expands his range, if not his vocabulary.

"No!" Edgar said. "No! No! No! No!"

"I believe you just said your first sentence," said Mom

It is later, after a warm bath, that Edgar at last seems mellow again. Dutifully, Hazel takes Edgar onto her lap, and with a sigh begins to read. Edgar doesn't say NO! He doesn't say anything!

That was a first. Hazel finishes the last page. She figures he's sound asleep.

But then Edgar says his second WORD.

It was unexpected. It was unacceptable. It was unspeakable.

For once, Hazel is speechless. Mom covers her mouth in shock and they stare at each other.

Then Edgar says his third and fourth words.

"Again, 'azel?"

Audrey Vernick's just published Edgar's Second Word (Houghton Mifflin Clarion, 2014) Her Hazel is hopeful and her Edgar is the ever-negative tot who evidently has discovered the power of words. Vernick leaves Edgar's second work unspoken and unwritten, as he comes up with two new words that bring smiles all around. Priscilla Burris' hopeful big sister Hazel and her determinedly negative toddler brother are as cute as they can be, set in a charming pastel-tinted world, and Burris picks up some well-earned chuckles for a two-page spread in which Hazel imagines Edgar as a perennial nay-sayer even as he grows up:

"Uncle Edgar, will you come on the roller coaster with us?


With laughs for experienced parents and older brothers and sisters alike, this is a great read aloud for siblings who wonder when the new baby is ever going to be any fun. This one goes well with Mo Willems' perennial best-selling story of Trixie's first word, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale.

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